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The Great Old Ones - Al Azif
23 April 2012

01. Al Azif
02. Visions Of R'lyeh
03. Jonas
04. Rue d'Auseil
05. The Truth
06. My Love For The Stars (Cthulhu Fhtagn)

I am going to preface this review by stating clearly that MS is not on the take. We are not getting baguettes and Bordeaux under the table from the French Ministry of Awesome Music for favorable reviews* for French artists… the French just seem to be doing some great stuff. Deathspell Omega, Glorior Belli, Dirge, Eibon, Blut Aus Nord, and I could go on and on…

Al Azif by The Great Old Ones starts with an ominous build of tension with ringing tones and occasional power chord mashing - dark clouds on the horizon - before a maelstrom of non-Euclidean black metal fury ensues.

Al Azif was the original writing of the Mad Arab, which later found its way to Greece and was dubbed "The Necronomicon", and as one might expect with paeans to the concepts in that book, there are lots of twists and turns on the way. Raging black metal gives way to stark, almost jazzy, interludes, before the band resumes a ferocious assault on your earhole.

Stylistically, I suppose the easiest comparison would be to fellow Frenchmen Deathspell Omega. The Great Old Ones also show an affinity for creating songs with one of old school Darkthrone's greatest traits… a damn near hummable melody line over rampaging tremolo riffing and drum pounding. (Think "Transylvanian Hunger.") They also exhibit the knack for slowing down to a sludge-paced funeral march on other tracks, to find a nice middle ground between the stark dissonance to build tension and the full throttle blackened fury.

The music is also presented in such a way that it feels simultaneously murky and massive, sprawling. The net result is a pretty great sonic spectacle. The shifting moods from ominous build up to blasturbation and back again never allow you to get entirely settled. The moment you feel in place, the floor falls out from underneath you again.

While perhaps not as innovative of other French Masters, I still found this a thoroughly entrancing release. Definitely worth checking out.


Or whatever.

*While I don't take bribes, if Le Ministre De L'Excellente Musique wants to send a few baguettes and bottles of Bordeaux my way for my efforts in exposing and promoting their works, I will gladly accept all packages.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Band profile: The Great Old Ones
Album: Al Azif


Written on 17.04.2012 by
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by BitterCOld ››


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!J.O.O.E.! - 17.04.2012 at 10:02  
Definitely one of my most anticipated albums this year after hearing the pre-production album last year. Looking forward to this a lot.
Nosurper - 17.04.2012 at 10:05  
Evian anyone?
Troy Killjoy - 17.04.2012 at 10:29  
This popped up in my email as a review request but I couldn't describe it very well. In any case I would have scored it a full point lower but it's still some interesting music.

I wish I could say more about what didn't entice me, but then again that's why I didn't bother with wanting to write the review in the first place.
InnerSelf - 17.04.2012 at 10:53  
Again : French, Black, Jazzy and Sludgy moments .... sold !
awesome review as always, will keep an eye on this one
Merchant of Doom - 17.04.2012 at 11:43  
Look forward to this... the two tracks I've heard are awesome!
Trëz - 17.04.2012 at 12:55  
There are so much brilliant bands in France. The problem is that in this country metal music is marginalized and ignored by our society. Fortunately, things seem to change, but I do not understand why a band like SUP is not more famous! "Incubation" is one of the best album ever made! No, I'm not getting baguettes and Bordeaux under the table from SUP members... hehehe
Good review, I will listen to "Al Azif".
Carl Berg - 17.04.2012 at 14:07  
non-Euclidean black metal

Great description there dude
farfaramir - 17.04.2012 at 14:57  
Im going to check this only because of the titles of the songs.
Daniell - 17.04.2012 at 15:45  
Froggies strike again it seems. Will check this one out for sure.
Unhealer - 18.04.2012 at 00:38  
I love the whole Great Old Ones thing. I'll check them out.
Frank Sinistra - 18.04.2012 at 06:36  

....[blasturbation and back again never allow you to get entirely settled...

i think english dictionary should adopt this new word to refer to this band
Hell french black metal acts are always amazing
krakenao - 18.04.2012 at 13:58  
Great Review!! Thanx!! Album available here :
Boxcar Willy - 22.04.2012 at 05:02  


haha we call my drummer Adam "The Blasturbater" Wright
tea[m]ster - 05.05.2012 at 17:17  
I like this and for an obvious reason: the post and atmospheric elements are clear as day.
Oaken - 02.07.2012 at 21:30  
Al Azif was actually created by Lovecraft, and so it isn't a real book.
R'Vannith - 23.08.2012 at 12:16  
Damn near hummable is right, can't get this one out of my head.
papashawn - 05.09.2012 at 15:50  
The limited double vinyl version is now up for preorder at Antithetic Records!

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