The Great Old Ones - EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy
Season Of Mist
Post-Black, Doom
7 songs (44:08)
Release year: 2017
The Great Old Ones, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

Intended as a sequel to ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth’, that classic horror tale of a man discovering that an entire town is full of fish-human hybrids, HP Lovecraft-obsessed Frenchmen The Great Old Ones are back for a third platter of black metal terror. And just as before, with 2014’s Tekeli-Li, my main issue with the band is that this sort of post-black/doom isn’t very good at actually telling stories in and of itself, although each fan’s interpretation of Lovecraft will be individualistic in some way or another. There’s no denying that the band have definitely improved at crafting ominous soundscapes, as first track proper The Shadow Over Innsmouth proves with its shifting black metal riffing and howled vocals, leading partway through into a shift towards the post- elements as the doom takes the helm and the reverberating blackened riffs fade behind the other instruments. It’s almost too busy at moments, and doesn’t have the cleanest of productions, which is both a blessing and a curse for an atmospheric band like this. A blessing because a little murk adds a lot in atmospheric terms, but a curse because music with this much complexity is frustrating when you can’t hear everything that the instruments are doing.

Frontloaded criticism aside, then, I’d be unfair to the band if I didn’t seriously praise them for what they got right. The songwriting here is better than ever, songs having structures that bring some of the more experimental funeral doom acts out there to mind, and accordingly having a good grasp of dynamics and knowing when to let heavier moments breathe a little. Shorter pieces like When the Stars Align have as much heaviness, intensity and epic feel as the longer tracks, which make an effort to feel big and grandiose; the pounding drumbeats that open The Ritual, for instance. That track in particular rewards repeated listens, those midpaced riffs building to a black metal maelstrom that gives way to a slower, almost proggy section showing off the textural guitar and complex drum patterns masked elsewhere by the production.

Interlude Wanderings with its spoken word will annoy some, but the meat and bones of the following In Screams and Flames and Mare Infinitum are on point, the tangled paranoia of the former shifting constantly and setting the stage well for the restrained latter, a mini-masterpiece that moves from cello-enhanced opening to torrential flurry of darkness. It’s not entirely satisfying, but unless you’re following the band’s story directly, this sort of music won’t be. Set to a purpose, then, EOD only succeeds up to a point; that added bonus track My Love For the Stars (Cthulu Fhtagn) is one of the best tracks present with its acoustic take on the atmospheric formula speaks volumes, and suggests the band still needs lessons in its take on darkness. Sure, there’s no overall moment that I can point to and proclaim worthy of hearing the album for - unlike such past atmospheric giants as Mayhem’s Ordo Ad Chao. You’re either into this all the way or you’re not; for those used to the band, this is more of the same. Newcomers should be cautious but eager to be pleased, and The Great Old Ones will doubtless succeed. I persist in thinking, however, that for all their Cthonic bluster, this band’s best days are still ahead of them.

Killing Songs :
The Shadow over Innsmouth, The Ritual, My Love For the Stars (Cthulu Fhtagn)
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by The Great Old Ones that we have reviewed:
The Great Old Ones - Tekeli-Li reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
The Great Old Ones - Al-Azif reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
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