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Oes Galliath > Ad Galliam et Mortem > Reviews > Deprimiert
Oes Galliath - Ad Galliam et Mortem

Death to France - 97%

Deprimiert, January 16th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Les Corbeaux de Suie Productions (CD-R)

Originally recommended to me by a friend, Oes Galliath is a band which grabbed my attention from the first moment I heard them. At times being depressive and melancholic and at other times simply being straightforward and rebellious (as evidenced by the demo title), they are a band which incorporate many different styles of black metal into their music and also manage to have a distinctive sound in the swirling storm of dull bands that populate the black metal genre these days. Ad Galliam et Mortem, meaning “And Death to France” in English is their best example of this blend and also their most mature release to date.

The album begins with a short introduction of DSBM howling and acoustic guitar, which reminds me a lot of Sterbend’s suicidal wailing, and then effortlessly dives straight into the first song. Transitions such as this are the norm on this album and all are seamless, giving the impression of one continuous song being played for thirty minutes. I really like this and it makes listening to the album in its entirety hard not to do once you press play. Certainly this album can be reduced down to one big idea being cut up into pieces, but this would belie the fact that each song fleshes out different parts of the whole.

Oes Galliath, as I said before, has an unmistakable sound which causes one to immediately recognize one of their songs in a playlist shuffle. The production is definitely lo-fi but not raw. Every instrument is easily heard and is superbly mixed, except for the vocals. Sometimes they are barely audible over the guitars, but overall it doesn’t detract too much from the listening experience. The drums have an organic sound that Fenriz in all his black metal uppity-ness would enjoy. No triggers here, just mics and solid recording. The guitars are much the same. Nothing special is added to the production, but the tone is definitely something which sticks out. The lack of frills in the production speaks volumes about the musicianship present here. While being forward-thinking about their song-writing, Oes Galliath remains true to the black metal sound and play within its boundaries to their advantage. The guitar work is solid yet not technical. The drums are always better and more thought-out than the norm yet they never once become overbearing. The vocals, while I am not fluent in French and doubt I would know what they were saying if I was, are diverse. At times they are spot on with early Darkthrone or even Immortal and at others they are more of a raspy croak. Hell, even DSBM vocals are present! They clearly utilize all of the tools in the black metal shed and I find that to be innovative.

The compositions of the songs are unconventional yet catchy and effective. All of them which aren’t instrumentals are well over five minutes long. Each riff carries with it an undeniable melancholy, but there are some punk influences as well. The punk vibes coming from some of the riffs are more of a sad, defeated punk, however, and not like the Carpathian Forest kind of punk which is most often seen in black metal. There is also a sense of turmoil on the demo. This comes to a head partway through “Cris D’aveugle” with the lead riff traveling up and down the fret board while the rhythm churns out tortured second-wave black metal with an Oes Galliath touch. The final track, an instrumental, changes the pace of the album. Named “Octobre,” it’s almost classical in nature, yet it retains the tinge of despair expressed by the rest of the tracks. Overall, it is a fitting end to a tumultuous journey, bringing a sense of peace after a tempest. I highly recommend this demo to anyone into the French black metal scene and to anyone interested in black metal.