H.P. Lovecraft was one of the most important writers of fantastic and horrifoc literature, if not the most important. His work was influential to many artists, from other authors to film makers and of course musicians. Although there are examples of his influence outside of metal, most of his followers are in the extreme variations of heavy metal. One of the recent apostles of Lovecraft are THE GREAT OLD ONES from France – their band name might indicate this circumstance…
With their recent album “EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy” they made their debut on Seasons Of Mist, presenting their elaborated mixture of epic orchestration, traditional style and approach to post-black metal to a wider audience. A great step after “Tekeli-li” that already had some effect on me.
Over almost 45 minutes running time, THE GREAT OLD ONES show an impressive mature vision of contemporary black metal. There are no typical moments of shoegaze that many other post-black metal bands exploit. Most of the time “EOD” is relatively straight forward, working with subtile variations that make the sound interesting. Harmonies that sometimes are close to the circus-esque obscurity of Dark Funeral, extremely well arranged keyboards that range from shy background support to leading melodies. And on the other hand there are many moments when THE GREAT OLD ONES give their songs some more space, incorporating slight influences of more progressive rock/metal.
Especially those moments when the (fretless?) bass plays some very interesting lines, there are some reminiscence to Obscura, meanwhile other epic parts remind me a bit of Sulphur Aeon. But those similarities are more based on the vibe and attitude than in the overall sound. “EOD” is still a black metal album and not a death metal record. Just take the epic “Mare Infinitum” where reduced and minimalist riffs build a monotonous atmosphere over the fast blastbeats. The more progressive parts and excellent orchestration are interesting decoration over the genre-typical matrix. Nevertheless it is a brillant song, maybe the strongest on “EOD”.
In this mixture of epic soundscapes, direct and catchy riffs and more progressive breakouts THE GREAT OLD ONES deliver an entertaining album. Although most songs exceed the eight minute mark, there are so many surprising changes that none of them becomes boring or lengthy. Enriched with some voice-samples from Lovecraft radio play this record really feels like a visit to Innsmouth, Arkham, R’lyeh or any other place that is essential for the Cthulhu-myth.
“A Tale Of Dark Legacy” is a gloomy, malicious audio story that perfectly fits to the lyrical theme of THE GREAT OLD ONES. It is an atmospheric record that plays with furious menace, fantastic and stellar spaces and the spirit of old, almost forgotten entities. Recommended, not only for fans of post-black metal or the Lovecraft universe.