Aorlhac – L’espirit des Vents (2018) REVIEW

The more I study melodic black metal the more I see it as a fleeting language within modern black metal guitar voicing and it is a shame because it can be a million times more effective than pure acrid noise, and more earnestly affecting beyond progressive inclination. In fact few bands have tapped into it’s core themes over the last decade than epic Occitan black metal band Aorlhac. At the epicenter of French, Spanish and Italian influences the Aurillacois have persisted since medieval times. Aorlhac have been communicating the history of their ancestors through a trilogy of unique black metal albums since 2008 and the triumvirate is complete with this third release. Though I’ve had to use imprecise translation software to interpret it, ‘L’espirit des Vents’ is yet their most successfully poetic telling of Aurrilac’s medieval occupation, identity and spirituality through characters rather than rote historical readings.

Tales of battle, clever rogues, and saints are made even more effective through streams of melodic black metal that incorporates medieval themes a la Darkenhöld but with a greater boldness found in Sacramentum‘s early work. If you’re already familiar with their debut ‘A la Croisée des Vents‘ sound ‘L’espirit des vents’ more or less creates a matured, professional example of that sound with just enough rough edges to still echo the attack of Sorhin, Taake and other groups influenced by Dissection’s early sound. Some of the tracks utilize melody and guitar work that reminds me of early Belenos‘ pagan/melodic black metal on ‘Spicilège’. Aorlhac simultaneously blend in with the classics of melodic black metal and create their own distinct personality as they expand their sound carefully beyond the confines of streaming tremolo-picked riffing.

As much of a fan of melodic black metal as I am, I was sold on ‘L’espirit des Vents’ before the third track could finish and they were still finding interesting variations on their epic black metal sound within the peak riffing of “Infame Sauremonde”, the regalia toting pride of “1802 – 169 les mefaits de Mornac”, and the introspective soul of “Un vie de reclus.” If anything it is almost too much to soak in at once with such a dense volly of inspiration and ideas coming from each song. I’ve come to expect a lot of rote feigned passion from modern melodic black metal but Aorlhac have approached their ancestral history with pride that isn’t often genuinely expressed in black metal. At a very base level this is a fantastic melodic black metal album with medieval themes, and brilliant closure, in a grand decade-spanning trilogy.

AORLHAC CD cover 300dpi

Artist Aorlhac
Type Album
Released March 2, 2018
Pre-order at LADLO Prods

Preview on YouTube

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Wrapped in a deadly aura. 4.0/5.0

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