Friday, 16 March 2018

Aorlhac - L'esprit des vents

AORLHAC - L'esprit des vents (Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions CD 2018)
Aorlhac returns with their third album "L'esprit des vents" (through the ever-amazing Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions), which is their first release since the 2011's 4-way split Ossuaire / Ysengrin / Aorlhac / Darkenhöld titled "La Maisniee du Maufe - A Tribute to the Dark Ages" and 2010's second full length "La cité des vents". But let me be honest - I never heard of this band before, I even looked at the artworks for their previous releases and none of them seems familiar to me. So, this is the first attempt to check Aorlhac and well, I have to say that this stuff is good.  
Well, most of the stuff, which LADLO releases, is fantastic, so it's nothing new. But I have to admit that "L'esprit des vents" surprised me a little, because most of LADLO bands are rather experimental or progressive black metal acts, very modern and unconventional sounding stuff. In that case Aorlhac feels like the most traditional, the purest black metal band so far. Which is nice to hear, I have to say. Great thing about Aorlhac is how they combine the harshness, aggression and really fast paced black metal with high dose of melody, in a way which reminds me some old Swedish bands. Some French bands like Belenos also, let's be clear about that. Generally, I think that "L'esprit des vents" is a perfect album for people, who like when their black metal is sharp and fast, but at the same time it has that epic feel, lots of good melodic parts, diverse vocals (which have quite specific sound due to the French written lyrics) and clean production.  
Aorlhac has many really great riffs, in songs like "La révolte des tuchins", "Mandrinl'enfant perdu" (which is probably my favourite song) or "Infâme Saurimonde" and they really do good work through the whole album... I like this style quite much and I cannot say anything bad about Aorlhac music... except maybe the fact that the album is slightly too long for me and the longer I listen to it, the more it all starts to sound the same to me. All songs mostly follow the same recipes, so however solid it is, I start to have troubles recognizing what part of the album I listen to at the moment. And let's be honest, it wouldn't do any harm if they cut 2-3 tracks off and make a shorter, yet more memorable record. Obviously it's just my impression, you may think differently... and the band had their own idea and concept for "L'esprit des vents", which I respect. It didn't really ruin the way I perceive Aorlhac music either, so.... I listen to this album with reasonable pleasure and can sincerely recommend it. What a shame though that I have no possibility to understand anything from their lyrics, they're all in French! And it's always interesting to read some historical Medieval themed texts. 
Standout tracks: "Aldérica", "La révolte des tuchins", "Mandrinl'enfant perdu" 
Verdict: 70/100 

CRIPPLING MADNESS - Bestialski rzeźnik (PUTRID CULT - CD 2017)
"Bestialski rzeźnik" simply means "Bestial Butcher" - and you can quickly guess that such title can fit only one metal genre - fuckin thrash metal! And that's exactly what you get from Crippling Madness. This demo is their debut effort, firstly released on tape, but now also on CD by Putrid Cult, limited to 500 copies. 
And as a usual thrash demo, it sounds pretty solid, yet very mediocre and forgettable at the same time. I never can get too excited for these new thrash bands, don't know why. But I think that these three songs are not bad at all, I like this (classic) violent, aggressive feel of old school thrash metal, mostly alike to Destruction and hardly ever innovative. It is good enough to defend itself and to enjoy the music. There are some nice riffs here, even the vocals with the Polish lyrics, sound not bad at all. Yet, it's not enough to really impress me. There's nothing on "Bestialski rzeźnik" what would scream "killer!!!", it's just type of release, which you play couple of times and quickly forget about it. Also, the drums (machine?) sound crap... So, I'm quite pleased that this is just quarter of an hour of music, so it's all over before I get really annoyed. 
Standout track: "Bestialski rzeźnik" 
Verdict: 55/100 

Unaussprechlichen Kulten - Keziah Lilith Medea

Unaussprechlichen Kulten is something special for meThey're band, which I started to worship already few years ago, since I've read interview with them and heard their music for the first time. They're special, because after all these years they managed to create their own style and sound. And they're special also due to the fantastic horror-esque, obscure concept the band keeps developing. Yeah, I know that Lovecraft is rather common on the extreme metal scene, but tell me if there's any other band, which would dwell in the horror, malignancy and darkness the same way Unaussprechlichen Kulten does? There's no one else. So, after the killer "Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath", which was released in 2014, finally the time came for Chapter X of nameless cults' concept. This one is titled "Keziah Lilith Medea" and as we can read in the gatefold cover, it's about witchcraft, inspired by women, who've been persecuted for being witches. The title is a combination of three names: Keziah (witch from Lovecraft story), Lilith (demonic character from Jewish mythology) and Medea (from Greek myths, sorceress, often depicted as a priestess of the goddess Hecate). As always in this kind of bands, I advise to read the lyrics together with their liner notes, so you can get into the concept fully. I'm afraid that as usual some parts of the lyrics are in Spanish, so you won't be able to understand everythingbut it is something what is another characteristic aspect of this band. 
And to be honest, once I started to play "Keziah Lilith Medea", I knew exactly that this is Unaussprechlichen Kulten, because their sound became recognizable and unique. It's not only the production of their DM6 Studio, which always provides a massive, heavy and dark sound. But it's also the way Unaussprechlichen Kulten arranges the songs, their songwriting style, the riffs they come up with - which are like a mixture of Immolation and Incantation, yet done their own way... It's also the characteristic voice of Joseph Curwen, who I could easily recognize from hundreds of growlers. Only one thing has changed, compared to three previous full length albums of KultenFinally the band came up with a longer material! Previously none of their album was longer than 30 minutes. Damn, "People of the Monolith" was 22 minutes short!! This time we get 40 minutes of morbid metal of death and I'm quite happy about that haha! But longer songs didn't impact the album in any negative means. It's still the best quality South America death metal cult. 
Well, "Keziah Lilith Medea" doesn't surprise me with anything. This album follows the steps of everything this band recorded previously and do not bring anything new. And that's good, I don't know if I would like to hear some new influences in Kulten cult... probably not. They're just good at what they've always been doing and are best at. Which is massive, ferocious, brutal and often insanely fast death metal, blasphemous to its very core! Yeah, I just love their riff style; brute force, heaviness and something eerie they bring. And I love these bizarre, sinister harmonies that are included in their songs. Definitely Kulten are also one of the most evil and blasphemous sounding bands, in my opinion. Really, when you listen to their music, you feel the Devil's presence and that cold, malicious, horrifying aura. Vocals are awesome, as always, the concept is also very intriguing. So, Kulten never disappoints. And that's great.  
I have here two versions of this album - the vinyl pressing from Iron Bonehead, which looks super impressive, with booklet, poster and gatefold cover. And I have the CD version from Crypts of Eternity, which has different artwork. I think I even like this one a bit more! Ahhh, whatever else I will write, it will always be positive word, because Unaussprechlichen Kulten is special. Very recommended! 
Standout tracks: "The Woman, the Devil and God's Permit", "Firma el libro de la muerte", "Sabbatical Offering" 
Verdict: 85/100