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Medieval themed black metal - 70%

dismember_marcin, March 16th, 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 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", "Mandrin, l'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's 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", "Mandrin, l'enfant perdu"
Verdict: 70/100