The use of symphonic or orchestrated elements in Metal is something that as the years have gone by has become more prevalent. I feel that for the most part it represents a sort of mainstream accessibility giving listeners catchy hooks and perhaps encouraging them to listen to more purist bands with less pomp. This in my mind can only be a bonus, I for one discovered Extreme Metal through Cradle Of Filth a band known for there grandeur in the department of theatre. In turn this equally helped open my ears to less heavy symphonic bands in the vein of Nightwish and Epica and at the same time gave me grounds to work upon my interest in Classical music.
Bringing the Symphonic Black Metal and combining it with the downright extreme are Esoctrilihum from France. The one man project comprising of Avant-garde absurdist Asthâghul has gone from strength to strength with a healthy and powerful output. The bands debut Mystic Echo From A Funeral Dimension captured the ears of many a Symphonic Black Metal fan as did the albums which followed, all of which I have had the pleasure of reviewing previously. Yet now we come to The Telluric Ashes Of The Ö Vrth Immemorial Gods the fourth opus hot on the heels of its two 2018 predecessors. Yet can this I, Voidhanger Records release prove to be another rhapsody or will it dwindle into obscurity.
Naturally when a band has such a quick succession of releases you have to question their work ethic, is it quantity over quality? Luckily in the case of one man Black Metal there are generally no plans for tours so the ability to work solely upon the music is far greater than those on the road. Khalbas Mha opens this titanic effort with its short sharp punch of archaic melody combined with gritty extremity and ferocity. Imagine taking an Egyptian relaxation album and colliding it with Black Metal. Kros Ö Vrth continues this with an added Classical tinge easing us into the lengthy proceedings of the rest of the album and songs therein. If you like big bombastic Black Metal with ritualistic notes that still retains the essences of purity then Esoctrilihum have you covered.
As the first portion of the album comes to a close we begin to familiarise ourselves with the genre-defying blend of sounds that is Esoctrilihum. Bringing in Death Metal, Melodic Black/ Death Metal and dare I say even notions of Grindcore at points the album is a catastrophic journey and one that overwhelms the senses totally. Aborted Sun is a welcome pick up and even displays influence drawn from Demilich in its ultra guttural vocal delivery something Death Metal fans will be pleased about. Black Hole Exit is another exciting track with its more progressive tones and overall evil demeanour, although the more orchestrated elements do at times feel rather out of place or time. The closing track Torment Of Death is a powerful all-encompassing barrage of Extreme Metal destruction but comes across as a touch tired after the rest of its equally manic predecessors.
All in all I can’t say I’m blown away by this release, in fact it leaves me with a similar feeling to that I had with Inhüma a failure to strike me in the same way that the first two releases from Esoctrilihum did. As before this is by no means a bad album and it’s as good a place as any to start with this band. Yet that is equally its folly the bands style whilst eclectic and mesmerizing is beginning to stagnate. There is often so much going on in the mix that it is hard to pinpoint every detail and thus whilst Esoctrilihum may be attempting new directions everything gets a touch muddled. I’m all for bands doing the same thing for the whole of their careers, just look at Cannibal Corpse, but none the less the lengthy dedications in which one must pay to Esoctrilihum should be met with fresh delicacies.
(6/10 George Caley)