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Experimental black/death offering a new lore - 63%

MrMetalpants, December 3rd, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, Digital, I, Voidhanger Records

This is my first exposure to this one-man band and the apparent creation of new spiritual entities brought forth through the album's creation (with a little help from Mesopotamian myth). It feels very Lovecraftian, but is not. I've loved H.P. Lovecraft's writing since I was about 15, so I was glad that he was getting some love from all these extreme metal bands basing their existence on Lovecraft! Now in 2019 it's feeling a bit smothered... Chthe'ilist, The Great Old Ones, Sulphur Aeon, and Swampcult are just a few I can think of that I've listened to recently. That isn't to mention countless other bands owing songs or albums to the lore. Esoctrilihum, eschews this trend to create his own lore. I have no idea what he's going on about, but I like it.

The writing is fairly decent in the instrumentation department. There are quite a few spots that will demand your attention via an interesting composition or hook. The addition of non-traditional instruments creates an extremely unique listen overall. "Stone of Static Void" has all of these elements. All instruments are offering something to chew on. Even the vocals but more on that later. The style is a some form of exmerimental black metal. This is obvious right-off the bat. It can become tiresome at points with it's 85 minute run-time but there's a more traditional black/death song here and there. Those being "Thar-Voknargh" and "Aborted Sun". These have a vintage vibe to them. Listen to the production on the latter whch is heavily aiming to be late 80's black/death. Still a little too much echo on the vocals, though. There's some tribal elements which helps the ancient feel to the album. The sparse instrumentation and specific production all add to this ambience. I do respect him learning and playing these other instruments. "Listael V" has this aspect, which with this particular song reminds me of Nile during a few sections. The overall sound is memorable but the specifics of the song get lost because the core of it isn’t all that interesting. Overall I'd like the release quite a lot more if the writing was better. I didn't hear much on my 6 listens that is demanding I come back for more. I probably will, though.

Half the time I like the vocals well enough. The other half I absolutely hate them. I'm not the biggest fan of Blut Aus Nord's more recent releases (Though I haven't listened to Hallucinogen yet) which is what half the vocals remind me of. They're discombobulated with little meter which makes for a seemingly random string of phrases that are relatively unenjoyable to listen to. The sound of the vocals are interesting and there are multiple different voices (characters, maybe?) that sound unique but when the echo effect comes in full blast often it will devolve into more of a spoken-word piece which I can do without.

The leads are terribly boring like the one at 1:06 on "Listael V". There are no solos but sounds sounds like one is about to start at 1:42 and 2:23 on the same song, but is just a weird whammy bar play that comes out of nowhere. There are definitive lead sections that don't do much to help the song overall. The leads would do better to attempt to add more ambience rather than to be traditional. "Inexorable Plague of Time" has the best lead guitar work with it's repeating pattern high above the rest of the song with a black metal flair. The rhythm guitar is where it's at. It does it's job and does it well. It never does anything too crazy but helps the song the most. It helps the leads when they harmonize together.

The drums actually have some interesting sections to offer and are quite varied. "Thar-Voknargh" bring their most straght-forward song is a good example of the drums, though mostly traditional. “Inexorable Plague of Time” also has a pretty good amount of variation. There’s nothing quite impressive but, that’s not what I’m looking for here. The bass doesn’t do a whole lot of acrobatics, but it provides the necessary heft that’s missing from the guitars. The rhythm section is crunchy and with much gain letting the bass distinguishably roar underneath.

Favorite tracks:
-Invisible Manifestations of Delirium God
-Thar-Voknargh
-Aborted Sun
-Torment of Death

Technical Skill: 69% Originality: 89% Song writing: 58% Production: 72%