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.

White Ward – Futility Report (Post-Black Metal)

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I got recommended this album from a friend a couple of weeks ago but it’s been quite far down the backlog of reviews I’ve wanted to do it has had to wait until now. I got to start with saying wow! What is this? White Ward are experimenting with and crushing boundaries of black metal as it is nothing! Saxophone in black metal? Why not? Taake has used a banjo so put that it in the genre too! The thing is it works, most of the time. The passages between traditional black, post-black and basically jazz works so well I am stunned. As this is my very first listen to the band and their music I did not think anyone really did this type of music. I mean jazz-post-black metal!?

Thing is though I do find this music a bit weird for my personal taste, due to the jazz influences. I do love the fact White Ward are doing this and I am sure it will be in many peoples album of the year lists but I would actually like this album more if it had, well less sax in it. It’s a cool thing and does make me go “wow you can do that!?” at first but after a 40 minute album I am not too sure anymore. I mean Stillborn Knowledge is a freaking great song, as are most of the songs on the album. One by one. When I listen to the whole album though I don’t get swallowed up in it like some has. Basically what I am saying is this jazz-post-black metal isn’t really my thing for a full album but I am sure I will listen to their songs every know and then for the sake of their creativity. I like my post-black metal without the jazz. A shame, I really hoped I would love this album and I feel like I should but I just don’t. Not my kind of jam, but I am still stunned with a band breaking boundaries like this, so if you’re reading this do give White Ward a try. Who knows you might come to love this type of thing.

Futility Report is out now through Debemur Morti Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/whitewardofficial
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
For fans of: Ulver and Agalloch
Favorite song: Stillborn Knowledge

Fen – Winter (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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Named after a region in England called The Fens, Fen have since their formation in 2006 made a big name for themselves in the atmospheric black metal scene. The band members grew up in this mysterious landscapes, with marshes and wetlands, and this is where they’ve found the inspiration for their music. Winter is the bands fifth full-length release and it’s been three years since their latest masterpiece Carrion Skies.

Fen are one of those bands that brings you epic songs which, more often than not, goes past the ten minute mark. I know this isn’t for everyone just due to the length and you’re probably afraid that you will lose interest halfway through the song. I urge you not to let time be a factor for giving this one a miss, you owe it to yourself to get embraced by this cold and bleak winter that Fen offers you. It’s an album that should be experienced as a whole, which fans of Fen (and quite a few other atmospheric black metal bands) should know by now. It might not be an album where you turn on a song on your way to work which takes 5-10 minutes but see it as an audiovisual journey instead.

The Winter starts somewhat warm and gently. It’s that time of the year where you’re not entirely sure what to wear as the climate hasn’t truly become cold. Then the snapping cold hits and all of a sudden it’s a harsh icy landscape. This is portrayed in the opening song I: (Pathway) as the beginning of Winter is upon us. The songs smoothly transitions on the album, making this an even greater experience to the listener who wants to not only hear but to feel the Winter breeze.

In many ways this is the perfect way to give tribute for the ten years Fen have existed. It brings an interesting concept, with an atmosphere that’s fitting Winter and a journey in mysterious landscapes of darkness and sorrow. This is Fen at it’s finest and you should allow yourself to be absorbed and fully embrace this journey you’re about to take in the cold Winter. It captures the season from start to finish, ending with VI (Sight) that makes you feel that spring might even be coming soon.

Fen’s fifth full-length release Winter is out now through Code666 Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fenofficial
For fans of: Agalloch and Alcest
Favorite song: V (Death)

The Great Old Ones – EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy (Post-Black Metal)

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Sorry for no review yesterday, had a hangover of death after being on a Sonata Arctica concert and never really got into the mood of reviewing an album. I am now though and I continue with black metal because there’s just been so many good albums coming this year from that genre. Today is also an album I’ve had on my list for a long time but for some reason not got around to review it. The Great Old Ones is a French Post-Black Metal band that’s been going strong since they formed in 2009. EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy is the bands third full-length following their best release Tekeli-li that got a lot of praise when it came out in 2014. Question is can they follow up on that success even with two out of five members being new (Charbonnier on bass and Edouard on guitar being new members)?

For those of you who don’t know The Great Old Ones are very powerful deities (such as Cthulhu and Yig) in the H.P. Lovecraft universe which is also where the band takes its influences from when writing songs. As you may know by now I enjoy myself a good H.P. Lovecraft themed band, it’s dark, horrifying and perfect for the more evil metal bands to take influences from. Which is exactly how EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy starts. Searching for R. Olmstead – Introduction gives you shiver down your spine with the classical horror themed music you remember as a kid watching old horror movies late at night without your parents knowing to then blast of into madness with The Shadow over Innsmouth. If H.P. Lovecraft made music this would be it.

The whole album feels like a horror movie with it’s dark and mystic atmosphere. The vocals are just as wicked as before and the instrumental part, which I was afraid wouldn’t have the same high level anymore, still got it. It seems my concern was unjustified. If you like The Great Old Ones earlier work then you will be pleased with this one too, in my opinion it might even be better than Tekeli-li (ask me tomorrow and I might say the oposite, both really good though). If you haven’t heard these French horror-loving deities before then now is the time.

The Great Old Ones third full-length EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy is out now through one of the best labels out there Season of Mist.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thegreatoldones
For fans of: Altar of Plagues and Deafheaven
Favorite song: In Shadow over Innsmouth

Lascar – Absence (Post-Black Metal)

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Lascar is a one man band from Chile made by Gabriel Hugo two years ago with Absence being Hugo’s full-length debut. The album is 34 minutes long and consists of four tracks. Abscene takes a very atmospheric post-black metal road and you can definitely draw influences towards Ghost Bath and Wayfarer in both the sound and lyrical theme. The cover art is great and a reproduction of “Sterbender Hirsch” (“Dying Deer”), the covert art straight away sets the tone for the album and what is to come. An emotional journey in the wilderness, much like Wayfarer’s Old Souls’s that I reviewed a couple months back.

Abscene leaves a lot of the work to the instrument parts and the vocals are quite distant but that just sets the whole nature theme more into light. Perfect album to dream away on, why not have it on while taking a long walk in the forest for the weekend? Or just put your earphones on, completely in your zone, and take that walk in your very own room.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lascarmusic
For fans of: Ghost Bath and Wayfarer
Favorite song: Wilderness