Monday, July 1, 2013

Artist of the Day: The Great Old Ones

The Great Old Ones released their
debut Al Azif last year.
Black metal and horror fiction would seem to be an obvious marriage of style and subject matter; on the other hand, concept bands have a propensity to be either exceptionally good or hilariously bad. The Great Old Ones’ choice of H.P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon as its template is a bold move, but so far it has it paid off, as the band's debut Al Azif has gained it notoriety in the extreme metal scene. Drawing from black metal stylistically and post-metal structurally, the French quintet manage to craft captivating music through a chilling atmosphere and unorthodox musicianship.

The Great Old Ones formed in 2011, and has a few obvious parallels to contemporary black metal bands. Wolves in the Throne Room immediately come to mind, with its trademark dynamic shifts, while The Great Old Ones’ vocals and dissonant guitar work suggest a link to fellow Frenchmen Deathspell Omega. This is not to imply a lack of originality, as The Great Old Ones generally supersedes its influences without forgetting them. In big-picture terms, the band’s sound relies on weaving together intense climaxes with moodier passages, though neither style seems to dominate the other. On a smaller scale, the intricacies of each song give TGOO's work a unique character that set it apart from the latest Agalloch or Ash Borer release. 

I am by no means a Cthulhu expert, but the subject seems to be a perfect complement to the music on the band's debut, Al Azif. Ancient scriptures, gods of destruction, underwater cities – all of those are probably in the lyrics somewhere, though your guess is as good as mine as to what’s actually going on. It all adds up to a convincing package rife with mystery and intrigue, though the music itself is expertly crafted and well worth your time. If you’re in the market for black metal that is captivating on both a musical and aesthetic level, then you can’t go wrong with The Great Old Ones. As Wolves in the Throne Room winds down its career, perhaps this will even be the band to step up and carry the black metal flag. That’s probably a bit bold at this point in the game, but where there's smoke there's fire, and The Great Old Ones' coals are burning brightly.

The Great Old Ones on Facebook
Official Website

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