Hirilorn - _Legends of Evil and Eternal Death_
(Drakkar, 1999)
by: Alvin Wee (8 out of 10)
Hirilorn have been Drakkar Productions' blue-eyed boys ever since their acclaimed split cassette-LP with Merrimack, and it's relieving to see all the promises being fulfilled on their newest four-tracker. In a true black metal ethic that hasn't been observed for ages, this French foursome manage to push the quartet of pieces to a whopping 50+ minutes. Less forgiving reviewers have dissed their extended compositions for being incoherent and long-winded. The point that's being missed is: black metal has often worked well as a rambling and expansive style, as albums like Setherial's _Nord_ [CoC #12] so brilliantly show. Melodic acoustic guitars and delicate whispers open the festivities promisingly, and Hirilorn waste no time in impressing with "Last Ride on the Winds of Eternity"'s unforgettable leitmotif, gracefully fluid leads segueing seamlessly into old-fashioned Swedish trilling. What a start! Distortion fades into an atmospheric interlude, replete with tambourines, acoustic guitar folkishness and grim narration. It doesn't hit me until the rest of the music crashes back in with a ferocious roar that I simply haven't heard such melody in an underground setting in ages! Hirilorn eschew today's formulaic black metal crunchiness in favour of quietly buzzing guitars layered over with highly memorable leads. In this day and age where black metal is veering farther from the minimalist tenets of the pioneering bands, Hirilorn's "music-for-music's-sake" ethos stands out with the murky brilliance of early Dimmu Borgir or Parnassus. It may be a personal opinion, but Hirilorn seems destined to tread the path of the latter band: obscure sparks all but lost in the gloom of the underground. For faithful followers of the genre, _LoEaED_ will make a good change from the over-produced albums of today, and fans Stateside are highly encouraged to check out a release sadly lacking in promotion outside Europe.

Contact: Drakkar Productions, BP 420, 84071 Avignon cedex 4, France

(article published 5/3/2000)

9/1/1998 P Azevedo 4 Hirilorn - A Hymn to the Ancient Souls
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