Esoctrilihum – Inhüma

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: I, Voidhanger Records
Released: 2018
Buy Album: https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/inhu-ma
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Esoctrilihum-305266723253656/

BAND LINE-UP:

Asthâghul – Everything.

TRACKLISTING:

1. Incursus Into Daeth Hausth
2. Blodh Sacremonh
3. Exhortathyon Od Saths Scriptum
4. Dramath Ürh
5. Ƨinsnhy’lh
6. Yhtri’lhn (The Last Age Of Ukhn)
7. Aevendh Sadh
8. Lörth Volth Lynhnzael (Lost In The Storm Of Itshka Blood)

REVIEW

With Halloween nearing, it’s up to any self-respecting metalhead to turn their ears towards the darker of the metals – it’s seasonal, afterall (no Christmas recommendations, please). So what better genre than black metal? Unless of course you’ve already taken the black and adorn it like an obsidian badge of honour. If so, then continue on sailing into the black, you grim bastards. Torturously-written openers aside, up for today’s demonic discourse and ghoulish grilling is France’s ESOCTRILIHUM with the one-man act’s second album, “Inhüma”. Let’s get spooky.

The viciousness with which “Incursus Into Daeth Hausth” attacks right out of the gate is rather surprising. Granted, it’s expected with the genre, but rarely does it deliver in quite such a beastly manner. It’s all down to the vocals (more on the instrumentation and mix later, dear reader) – the enigmatic Asthâghul possesses an impressively potent snarl to his voice; one that adds a little spark to proceedings. It’s almost like the entirety of “Inhüma” was written solely with you in mind, and every song is sung directly to you. Whether the malice in ESOCTRILIHUM’s main (and only) man is specifically for you is anyone’s guess, but it’d be highly recommended to think about what you’ve done to piss him off. And maybe sleep with one eye open. With an axe.

Despite the bulk of black metal’s total aversion and abhorrence of melody, ESOCTRILIHUM doese not shy away from such backward thinking. For what is crushing, soul-withering black metal blasts without a little melody to put it into some context? Their use in “Exhortathyon Od Saths Scriptum” provides both a welcome break to the norm, and a swirling descent in the warmth of insanity. Try the melodious refrain after the song’s break in the middle: a contrasting maelstrom of melody and malevolence that works so deliciously well. The same goes for the soaring “Yhtri’lhn (The Last Age Of Ukhn)” – draped with a sense of musical melodrama, it’s most definitely a highlight to look out for.

The “symphonic” elements that creep in, as in the previous song, are definitely a surprise. For “Yhtri’lhn (The Last Age Of Ukhn)”, it comes in the form of some furiously tremoloing violin that squeaks and squawks with all the rawness the genre requires. Similarly, closer “Lörth Volth Lynhnzael (Lost In The Storm Of Itshka Blood)” features a slower, honking violin that would almost be soothing if it weren’t sat atop a load of double bass and grinding guitars. Their inclusion is not unwelcome, instead offering enhancement where necessary and builds into the aesthetic ESOCTRILIHUM are going for with “Inhüma”.

Musically, the album very much fits into the black metal brotherhood with no dramas, but it’s the little nods towards melody and those “symphonic” inclusions that give it a little boost above “generic black metal album #1,372,891.5”. Where it falls down, however, is the mix. It’s not as bad as 90% of those albums would be, but the consistency is a little wobbly. By and large, everything is audible but you feel some of the power is lost by the drums sounding quite so thin. The snare is largely lost at blast beats, but turns up for single/slower hits. Similarly, the kick clicks away merrily with the rest of the kit during blasts, but just has no presence until doubles or slower singles are employed. Focus is a real help in deciphering the mix, but it does become a little rumbly when not concentrating.

Despite this, this sophomore release by ESOCTRILIHUM should be commended for its effort. It’s still the usual demonstration of black metal, but with one eye on those extra little elements to enhance the material, it gets points to take it above the rest of the pack. “Inhüma” may be flawed and imperfect, but it dares to do more – is that not the metal spirit right there? Even if trying to pronounce aloud any track title sounds like you’d summon some kind of lesser demon, it’s an album worthy of the time to invest in it. Good work, Asthâghul.

REVIEW BY LEE CARTER
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