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mercoledì 9 agosto 2023

Esoctrilihum - Astraal Constellations of the Majickal Zodiac

#FOR FANS OF: Atmospheric Black Metal
France’s unique project Esoctrilihum is back again with a new release, only a few months after the remarkably solid and intensely atmospheric album 'Funeral'. That opus, along with the previous album 'Saopth’s', have not been released physically yet, that is a pity, as they were both excellent in their own character. In any case, let’s focus on the newest album, a mammoth release entitled 'Astraal Constellations of the Majickal Zodiac', where Asthâghul pushes his own boundaries, particularly in terms of productivity and richness of ideas. It is admirable to see how he is able of releasing albums each year, which are far from being simple or repetitive. Esoctrilihum’s music is demanding and requires a certain degree of attention to fully appreciate it, and this album, clocking around two hours is indeed a challenging, yet worthily task.

'Astraal Constellations of the Majickal Zodiac' doesn’t deviate too much from its predecessors, something which maybe could disappoint a few fans, particularly those who expect a revolutionary step forward. However, it will satisfy most people who enjoy Esoctrilihum’s particular musical vision. This new opus offers a complete palette of Esoctrilihum has done so far. Those who enjoyed masterpieces like 'Eternity of Shaog' or 'Dy’th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath', will surely appreciate this album as it perfectly reflects what we could hear in those previous ones. The more straightforward aggressiveness of 'Consecration of the Spiritüs Flesh' is also portrayed, at least in certain moments. This is due as this album is like a complete musical depiction of what Esoctrilihum did in the last years and a clear example of Asthâghul’s talent. The length of the album may discourage some of you, but I can assure that the quality is worth of your time. The album opener "Arcane Majestrix Noir" is a perfect example of the project’s trademark sound, with a combination of relentless drums, chaotic riffs, and a strong atmospheric touch, thanks to a huge and interesting use of the keys and of other arrangements. Asthâghul’s vocal approach is aggressive as ever, with a combination of vicious high-pitched screams with deep growls. The whole composition is a crazy combination of all these elements, where aggressiveness and experimentation cohabit in a very natural way. The atmospheric touch is even stronger in "Atlas Eeïm", where keyboards play a prominent role with some majestic melodies able to captivate the listener. The slower pace is some sections of this song also help to provide a greater room for this side of Esoctrilihum’s sound. Keyboard lovers will for sure enjoy a track like "Shadow Lupus of Saemons-Tuhr" as it has an absolutely majestic main melody that sticks in your head. This album offers to the listener tons of great key melodies, regardless of how brutal or experimental sounds the song, which is something I truly appreciate.

Nevertheless, if you prefer compositions more inclined to Esoctrilihum’s most visceral way, you won’t find songs raw as the ones you can find in 'Consecration of the Spiritüs Flesh', but don’t worry, as there are plenty of brutal double bass and blast-beasts through the whole work. A song like "AlŭBḁḁlisme" is a nice example of it, with an insanely speedy drum alongside the crazy riffing that Esoctrilihum always delivers. Pace wise, the songs fluctuate in a very natural way between super-fast, mid-tempo and slow parts, a fact that shows how smoothly the songs have been crafted by the French mastermind. Apart from the guitar-bass-drums-keys combo, Esoctrilihum has always used successfully something like a violin (I don’t know if it’s actually the real instrument or something more artificial), and this album is not an exception with some very nice parts, as the ones you can find in "Säth-Oxd, Stellar Basilisk". This song is also another clear example of how a song of this release can change from some melodic and even nice parts to a truly chaotic one in just a second. As soon as you reach the end of this colossal album, it seems that Asthâghul honours the popular expression "hold my beer" with the two gigantic final songs, each one twenty minutes length. Everything you can expect from this project can be found here and it’s a testimony of what Esoctrilihum can offer, what a conclusion for an album.

With 'Astraal Constellations of the Majickal Zodiac' Esoctrilihum shows that the project isn’t running out of ideas and inspiration. This mammoth release is an excellent sonic depiction of experimentation, brutality and atmosphere done with taste and passion. (Alain González Artola)