The Great Old Ones – Cosmicism

Rating: 5 out of 5
Distributor/label URL: Seasons of Mist
Released: 2019
Buy Album: Seasons of Mist / https://thegreatoldones.bandcamp.com/
Band Website: https://thegreatoldones.bandcamp.com/

Band line-up:

Benjamin Guerry – Guitars, vocals
Léo Isnard – Drums
Aurélien Edouard – Guitars
Benoit Claus – Bass
Alexandre “Gart” Rouleau – Guitars

Tracklisting:

1. Cosmic Depths 01:46
2. The Omniscient 09:26
3. Of Dementia 06:17
4. Lost Carcosa 08:56
5. A Thousand Young 11:43
6. Dreams of the Nuclear Chaos 04:27
7. Nyarlathotep 07:27

Review:

A simple interest in H.P. Lovecraft if you’re into black metal and it would lead you directly to The Great Old Ones.

TGOO have been dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft’s material since their first album (Al Azif, 2012). They might fall under the post-black metal genre but I’ve heard many people identify them with the term ‘Lovecraftian black metal’; if it catches on this would mean they may have created there own genre by perfecting a lyrical and musical theme, definite ingenuity.

Let’s start with the intro: a very interesting opening which gets the listener intrigued with a hint of mystery and darkness, it reminds me a lot of Emperor’s Alsvartr (The Oath). I’m sure if it’s not the band’s intention to create something so great just as Emperor did, then they have at least been influenced by it unconsciously, and although it lacks the lyrical content, this intro is still a great scene setting for the album to come.

Slowly, The Omniscient creeps on you with a cautious and slow build up, note after note for a minute where a massive wave of riffs, trem picking and blast-beat comes crushing our souls.

The Great Old Ones have mastered the element of surprise, not only in this album, but throughout their discography; there have always been new experiences around every corner, or a new twist that fascinates the listeners after every minute.

One of the many things that attracts fans to TGOO‘s music is the vast diversity in sounds and even styles; every album has a sense, feel and a story, even every song sounds different. Nonetheless, the full picture has never changed, somehow if you hear any of their riffs, even one you have never listened to before, you can tell within a minute it’s TGOO…could also be just me listening to them too much.

There are few unique moments in this album, which manifests in a random and fascinating order. For example, in Of Dementia, the track begins with this repetitive riff which seems to be the ground rule to it. A great riff really that later gets accompanied with a chant to form a perfect prayer as if Cthulhu’s worshippers are calling for him. Many emotions are reflected musically and translated in this track, maybe one of them having this short and deep solo right around minute one to reflect the suffering and calling of the worshippers. If that wasn’t enough, TGOO awaken our senses to a breakdown, as if Cthulhu has awoken in a reflection of R’lyeh to answer the prayers. I could reflect on that riff for too long but in all simplicity I’d say it might be the best riff 2019 has to offer, even taking into consideration that 2019 did offer many good albums and riffs.

If that still wasn’t enough, TGOO went on and created a mesmerising video for this track which I’ve linked in this review for you to enjoy if you haven’t seen it yet. I recall the first time watching this video I had to repeat it at least few times to soak in its beauty and magnificence. I will not talk about it instead I’ll leave you to judge by yourself.

Back to the album, which carries on with the same thematic formation, announcing TGOO‘s perfect realisation of their own Lovecraftian thesis. It is definitely something like they have never composed before, memorable, unique and unpredictable, with a formula that holds a chaotic sense, reflecting the madness of H.P. Lovecraft and TGOO‘s translation of this into musical madness. This album is like a deep ocean of musical supremacy, scary, wild and full of misery and anguish, I dare say this is reflected even with the artwork of the album. The original edition is pure perfection in every way, although I think the bonus track on the deluxe edition might not be my favourite, but that is forgiven due to what the album has achieved.

I’ve heard many criticise the constant passing reference to the Cthulhu subject and state it has become some sort of empty material, I completely disagree with this statement, it sounds to me like when someone states “Corpse paint and spikes have now become an overused gimmick”.

When it comes to The Great Old Ones, they have managed to enrich and keep this subject exciting over all these years and I’m really looking forward to more of it and wondering what will they conjure for their next story.

Out of everything I’ve listened and reviewed in 2019, I believe this is my favourite album of 2019!

Review by

Johnny Wolf

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