Interview: The Great Old Ones

A band that’s been on the forefront of Post-Black Metal for a few years now is The Great Old Ones. With crafty songwriting, a love for H.P. Lovecraft and always striving for improvements they’ve captured the black metal community. I managed to get in touch with the creator of The Great Old Ones Benjamin Guerry (guitar, vocals) and have a few words with him on the upcoming album, the new lineup, Lovecraft and, of course, gaming.

Tell me some history about the band. How did it all start?

I started the project alone in 2009, composing songs without a particular goal. I quickly linked these songs with my Lovecraft readings, and it seemed obvious to me to link these two passions. When I had enough songs to make an album, I recruited musicians and the chemistry was instantaneous. Since the lineup has moved a lot, but the envy has never been so strong.

Seeing as The Great Old Ones is influenced by H.P. Lovecraft I was wondering what’s your favorite work by him? Is everyone in the band into Lovecraft and his work?

This is a question that is often asked, and it is very difficult for me to answer it! I like the vast majority of Lovecraft’s work but If I have to choose some, I can say “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Color Out of Space”, “The Outsider”, and “Azathoth”. Each one of them has something that touches me.

Your latest album EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy was your darkest one yet, both due to the atmosphere and it leaning even more towards black metal than ever before. Was this intentional or did it just become that way when creating it?

When I started writing the songs for this album, I actually wanted a darker, more violent atmosphere. Moreover, it corresponded well to the atmosphere of the story from which they are inspired. And the goal is never to do the same thing twice! We are really satisfied with the result.

You’ve bought in two new members to the line-up with Alexandre “Gart” Rouleau on guitar and Benoit Claus on bass. How much has their involvement had an impact on the sound on the upcoming album?

About the composition, it does not change anything because I always write the majority of the songs alone. But they have a musical level and a very artistic feeling that brings a lot to the interpretation. This will be heard on the album!

You’ve had an album based on the novel “At the Mountains of Madness” and now lately it was the Esoteric Order of Dagon (with “The Shadow over Innsmouth” for example). What will you base the next one on? The Dunwich Horror?

I can’t tell you much because I have to keep the surprise intact. But I can already say that we will propose some things a little different in terms of concept. But still in the lovecraftian universe of course.

What can fans of The Great Old Ones expect from the upcoming album?

Something very epic, violent, but very immersive and varied. Each song has its own soul, and this makes, to our eyes, the whole thing captivating. We are currently in studio with Francis Caste in Paris, and the sound promises to be gigantic!

Can we expect a tour anytime soon?

We take a break after the studio, the time to prepare well and come back with a show worked and powerful. But wait for us for the autumn of 2019!

Any particular bands that inspire you guys when writing music?

I can tell you Emperor, Opeth, Satyricon, but also classical music, movie score, etc.

Do you follow the music scene? If so what was your favorite albums of 2018?

I can’t speak for the band but only for me. I really liked the last Gorod, a band in which our current bassist plays. A real sense of melody! I often listen to the latest Spectral Wound album. A real trip.

As the blog is called The Metal Gamer I have to ask. Are anyone of you gamers, and if so got any favorite game?

Yes, there are some gamers in our band. Gart is a true lover of retrogaming for example. Personally, I have less time to play than before. However, the last blast I had with a game was surprisingly with a mobile game. I really recommend “The Last Door”, which is a point and click in pixel art with a fantastic atmosphere, a great soundtrack, and a very lovecraftian atmosphere.

That’s it, do you have anything to add?

Thanks for the interview. Be ready for a new journey even more intense and epic.

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Stilla – Synviljor (Black Metal)

I’m wandering on a path that leads to a black pine forest. Behind some clouds of dark a pale lifeless moon does it’s best to give a weak light of shimmering. Eyes of pure evil is observing me when I walk down this road to my aftermath. A road who’d belongs to myths of a long forgotten time.

That is my first feeling when Stilla yet again show us mortals how psalms of nature, darkness and beauty are supposed to sound like. It’s so rotten, so decayed and just so absolutely fantastic. A wisdom of the old past that puts a mark on my soul. Never have deaths breathe felt so invited before, like a trustworthy hand that guides you when it is too dark to see or when you have been lost for a long time.

Stilla (which means still in English) is what you can call a genuine supergroup from Sweden. With members from the north to the south of the country. The members are from such acts (ex- or active ones) like Bergraven, Deranged, Armagedda, Saiva and many more. They where formed in 2011, and even if the band members are occupied with other constellations they’ll have still released four full-length albums, all with an incredibly high standard.

Their latest release is named Synviljor (optical illusions in English) and that is what it is, don’t always trust your eyes. This is perhaps their most darkest and gruesome work of art this far. A simple but such an important thing for me is actually that bands and artist write, compose and perform music in their own language. It gives so much more meaning to everything. To listen at words and phrases of old, together with perfectly composed black metal is not what we get used to so often. Stilla truly are worthy to be named one of the best just due to that.

Since I first heard their debut in 2013, I’ve been so impressed by their spiritual of craftsmanship. So well balanced, even in such extreme music. This could very well be one of the best releases from Sweden in 2018.
An perfect example of Black Metal from Sweden, and that the rest of the world can not afford to miss.

Written by K.P.

Label: Nordvis Produktion
For fans of: Skogen and Grift
Release date: November 30th, 2018
Favorite song: Myr (very hard to choose from)
Score: 4,5/5 Near perfect

Karg – Dornenvögel (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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Austria have done so much for the people, who have always had the music attached to the heart, or very close to it. All the way back to the 18th century and forward, that is the first reason of two.

The second one is, that if there is something that will make all metalheads say something good about Austrian metal/atmospheric scene it’s because it’s legendary..with bands in the frontline like Belphegor, and for me, a personal favorite…Summoning. But this is not an article about them, this is about the one man band Karg (not to be confused with the Viennese Hardcore act, with same name).

Karg is here with it’s sixth full-length released album, Dornenvögel (German for The Thorn Bird). V.Wahntraum, more famous as the multiartist J.J. Who also is the driving vocalist behind Harakiri For The Sky.

Karg was formed in the summer of 2006, and between 2010 to 2014, it existed as a “complete” band, meant for the live scenes. Karg stopped to play live in June 2014 for various reasons, but it has not stopped J.J. to continue his work in the studio, and in 2018, he succeeded to deliver his latest work.

The sixth studio album, Dornenvögel, may be his most complete album to date. An album that is not afraid of speaking about sorrow and grief in the most depressive, direct way. Phrases of misery, that seems to be forever stuck in the shadows, but still..still there is also a melancholic touch, with that in my mind..I will say that it’s a divine hand trying to reach in the dark after it’s partner to find a path through the mist. Karg have also made a excellent choice of guest musicians from acts like Lunar Aurora, Downfall Of Gaia and many more. Because of this release, a reincarnated Karg will be risen up from the ashes to perform live in 2018/2019.

There is so much influence from genres, that I lose my count, with everything from Post Metal to Shoegaze, Grunge, but never without the Atmospheric Metal as a ground. The result. An magnum opus with dark dystopian tales…pure art from this multiartist (that is also the creator behind a very beautiful artwork, so to say). A work that will grab people to the core, with it’s music, with it’s lyrics, and conquer the souls in a never-ending loop of solitude.

Written by K.P

Label: AOP Records
For fans of: Alcest and Harakiri For The Sky
Release date: November 16th, 2018
Favorite song: Advent
Score: 3/5 Good

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Ifernach – Gaqtaqaiaq (Black Metal)

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From Canada there is a one-man army in Finian Patraic who has his own band Ifernach. Since the first EP dropped in 2016 he has managed to do not one, not two, but SIX albums (including this one). That’s quite insane really. I haven’t managed to listen to all of them but I was interested to hear how the quality has been seeing he has released so many so quickly. From what I heard non of them were bad, some were worse than others and Finian could probably skip an EP or two to make a full-length with the better songs in his favour but it is still admirable to do what he does, as a solo artist.

So what kind of music does Ifernach play? While it’s old school black metal at its core that doesn’t tell the whole truth. Gaqtaqaiaq offers a lot of different styles. Be it the atmospheric passages that makes one draw parallels to Lord of the Rings infused metal a la Summoning, or the more savage yet melodic parts that’s more within the second wave of black metal from Norway with the likes of Gehenna, Immortal or Emperor. That’s also where the strength of Ifernach lays. How all these ambient, acoustic and raw elements comes together to create a rather wicked and chaotic black metal experience. While I still think there are some ups and downs (I tend to skip “Elle danse avec la mort” for example as that songs seems out of place to me) during the almost 30 minutes of playtime Gaqtaqaiaq is Ifernach best offering yet. During these two years he has honed his craft and for those out there that want some savage spiritual black metal then this will be an album to check out.

I do wonder do how many albums Ifernach can release before starting to repeat himself too often or drop in quality though. Finian is a talented musician that’s all for experimenting and improving his craft. Giving time, trimming the fat and you got yourself not just a good but a great underground black metal act. Fans of old Immortal or waiting for a new album with Gehenna should have a good time here.

Label: Nekrart Productions
For fans of: Immortal and Gehenna
Release date: March 28th, 2018
Favorite song: Extinction
Score: 3/5

The Metal Gamer Top 30 albums of 2018 so far!

The Metal Gamer Top 30 albums of 2018 so far!

Am I missing any albums? Do you agree?

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The bands and albums featured are:

Sadistik Forest – Mordbid Majesties
At The Gates – To Drink From the Night Itself
Amorphis – Queen of Time
Nekrokraft – Servants
Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
LIK – Carnage
Gluttony – Cult of the Unborn
Totalselfhatred – Solitude
Svederna – Svedjeland
Svavelvinter – Mörkrets Tid
Avslut – Deceptis
Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality
Raven Throne – I miortvym snicca zolak
Skinless – Savagery
Unflesh – Savior
Demonical – Chaos Manifesto
Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Gaerea – Unsettling Whispers
Depravity – Evil Upheaval
Alkaloid – Liquid Anatomy
Begat The Nephilim – I: The Surreptitious Prophecy / Mother of the Blasphemy
Kataklysm – Meditations
Ingested – The Level Above Human
Organectomy – Domain of the Wretched (went off the Unique Leader Records release)
Arkona – Khram
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse
Augury – Illusive Golden Age
Mordant Rapture – The Abnegation
Chelsea Grin – Eternal Nightmare

Raven Throne – I Miortvym Snicca Zolak (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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There has been way way too little atmospheric black metal on my feed this year. Which is weird as last year I got completely overwhelmed with it. However the albums I do get this year have been nothing but superb with Raven throne being no different.

Raven Throne has had an turbulent past. They’ve had quite a few changes in the lineup during the years, even having a drum machine until 2011, however the core duo of Chernotur and War Head have always been there to keep it all together. I Miortvym Snicca Zolak is the bands sixth album which is based on poems from the beginning of the 20th century. I may not understand the lyrics but I do understand the message through the music. It’s dark and deep melancholic atmosphere is grim and fits perfect for this kind of music, doing the poems justice. Throughout the album I hear influences from great acts such as Moonsorrow, Saor, Drudkh and Woods of Ypers.

Raven Throne surprises me with one of the best, if not the best, atmospheric albums I’ve heard all year. It’s captivating from start to finish and I can’t stop listening to it. Raven Throne has got to me the same way Mist of Misery got to me two years ago. Both being atmospheric yet very different music in their cores however they have managed to shackle me the same way. I’ve already listened to it countless times and it’s a beautiful piece of craft these Pollacks have managed to release.

Label: Non Serviam Records
For fans of: Drudkh and Saor
Release date: May 2nd, 2018
Favorite song: Vietru
Score: 4/5