Ah, concept albums. High art. Thinking about stuff. Things that generally go over my head. While I am hardly new to either Lovecraft or the French atmospheric black metal band The Great Old Ones, I’ll be the first to admit that nothing about their Cthulu Mythos based concept drew me to listen to their new album. Yes, I’ve read Lovecraft and enjoyed him greatly. However, what got me excited for a new album from The Great Old Ones is the fact that every single thing I like about well produced, melodic, and expansive black metal is both present and perfected across their prior releases, and done even more proficiently here.
I’ll admit, I didn’t do my research. I have no idea where the intro, or other clips of what I believe are Lovecraftian writings came from. However, that’s fully irrelevant and in no way affected my enjoyment of the album. For those fearing that they’ll need a dossier of background information to understand this album, fear no more The Great Old Ones play atmospheric, spacey black metal, and on their newest record EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy, they continue doing so. However, unlike their prior releases which I absolutely loved, this album feels extremely heavy. Now, obviously, they’ve always been a metal band, but they’ve been one that trended more towards melody and atmosphere (if you didn’t gather that from my description earlier). On EOD, the words “Crushing” and “oh my god, this is a riff and a half” come to mind. The closest comparisons I can make sonically are to Drudkh’s less post rock influenced, but later material, Mare Cognitum, and Winterfylleth. However, these are simply surface comparisons, and you would not mistake The Great Old Ones for any of the aforementioned bands.
Normally, I take a track by track sort of approach with my reviews, but here, that feels a bit pointless. EOD is a truly cohesive work. I guess that makes sense for proper execution of a concept album that has more thought behind it than “let’s make this good guys”. I do like that the song lengths do vary, and while at times, the tracks bleed into each other, they are distinguishable as separate pieces if you’re paying enough attention. At first listen, the album flew the hell by, and I wasn’t sure where anything began or ended. By the fifth (yeah, it’s that good), it was clear when a new track had started.
This however, may be seen as a double edged sword. If you can’t do long songs, and don’t prefer to get lost in what you’re listening to, you may feel as if the album drags on. For those that prefer their black metal kvlt and sounding like shit, you will be very disappointed. EOD is clear as day, which in my opinion allows for one to hear the full scope of the beautiful melodies. The vocals also aren’t particularly varied, nor are they a highlight of the band. However, there’s nothing wrong with them, and they in no way detract from my enjoyment of the album. They’re just fairly genre standard, so don’t expect any curveballs there. In fact, one could say that about The Great Old Ones as a whole; they’re not doing anything so fantastically brand new that they should be called pioneers. However, what they do, they do god damn excellently, and for a relatively new band to already have 3 great albums under their belt is quite an achievement.
In sum, I give this album 9 out of 10 Cthulu tentacles. Some dork somewhere will probably call this poser shit because you can make out the instruments clearly, and these guys don’t use fake names, but that’s fine. I love it. Please to tour the US?
Release Date: January 20th, 2017
Label: Season of Mist
Favorite Tracks: Shadow Over Innsmouth, In Screams and Flames
FFO: Winterfylleth, Drudkh, Mare Cognitum, Scary monsters with tentacles and shit.