Published on Saturday, 12 July 2014 20:06
Band: The Great Old Ones
Album title: Tekeli-Li
Release Date: 16 April 2014
Label: Les Acteurs De L'Ombre Productions
01. Je Ne Suis Pas Fou
03. The Elder Things
05. The Ascend
06. Behind The Mountains
The only reason why I still willingly give a listen to black metal albums is that in the last - give it or so - ten years, this genre has shown, it has more than one face. Alongside many fusion genres, such as avant-garde black metal, industrial black metal, symphonic black metal, black'n'roll and so on, this particular genre has departed from the ''kvlt black meta'' imagery and thus many bands were introduced to the scene, that are a taking a whole new, intelligent and thought-provoking approach to it. The Great Old Ones are one perfect example of this. Even the sole cover art of this album is a proof, that this band is totally free of all classic black metal boundaries. With their highly acclaimed debut, Al Azif, the band has already gained a devoted fan base, and not without a reason. With its successor, Tekeli-Li, they have only gone further and grown stronger.
The five piece ensemble from France was formed in 2009, with a vision to play atmospheric black metal. And they have nailed it. Not only musically, but also lyrically, as Tekeli-Li is a concept album, with lyrics inspired by the novella At The Mountains Of Madness by the famous horror author H.P. Lovecraft. In case you are unfamiliar with the story, let me just tell you Lovecraft was way ahead of his time and wrote about aliens under the thick ice in Antartica, way before the famous film The Thing was released (and if you are a horror film fan, you definitely know this one). What’s so mesmerizing and exceptional about this album is, that the The Great Old Ones have composed a black metal symphony, following the story development, by creating the most haunting and horroresque ambient.
Yes, Tekeli-Li still is black metal - it’s dark and extreme; incorporating bone crushing guitar riffs, fast drumming and wretched vocals, accompanied by some spoken words and embraced with slower-paced, serene and hypnotizing moments, with just the right pinch of melodic aspects. Just imagine a horror film, building its suspense slowly, striking your nerves and freezing your blood, making you anxious, while you wait for the beast to strike and go on a rampage. This is what Tekeli-Li delivers so elegantly and seemingly effortlessly, alongside the narrative story of the mentioned novella. With the opening intro ''Je Ne Suis Pas Fou'' it begins building the obscure ambiance and the following four tracks carry on the dynamics. For the album's epilogue, you enter the almost 18 minutes in length epopee ''Behind The Mountains'', combining all the previously mentioned elements, creating severely shivery and captivating feel; like you’re in a nightmare and so close to waking up, but it just never happens and you remain trapped, facing your worse and deepest fears.
Not only lyrically and musically, this album is also a step forward in the sole production. While Al Azif may have sounded a bit quirky from time to time, Tekeli-Li takes on a straight-forward, smooth and velvet approach towards the harshness of black metal. This album is nothing less than raw, razor sharp black metal, creating ghastly and asphyxiating climate. If you are - like me - a fan of profound, thoughtful and meaningful atmospheric black metal, this is an album you surely must give a try. With the strong releases by Enthroned and The Great Old Ones this year, French black metal seems to be on a victorious march through the scene and is to be dealt with nothing less than respect and admiration.
Review written by: Ines