After 2 fine albums on Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions in 2012s Al Azif, and 2014s Teliki-Li, I was curious how this fast rising Lovecraft themed black metal act would fare after the jump to the big leagues on Season of Mist. Well, after a while to grasp the effort, it seems the result is a bit middling and quite not as impressive as they were on first two efforts
Much like Teliki- Li, A Tale of Dark Legacy does not have the immediate wow factor of the debut. Its still has the elegant mix of crawling ambiance and post black atmospheres with tendrils firmly pulling from other french acts like Alcest, Amesoeurs, Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega, but there is a sense safety here that makes this release feel a little restrained, if still confident.
The band still compares favorably to Wolves in the Throne Room’s early seminal offering and when backed by the vast Lovecraftian/Cthulu mythos, there is a dearth of material to pull from, but musically the band seemed a bit reserved here as if feeling out their big label debut. It’s less dreamy, discordant and nauseatingly majestic, but cleaner and clearer. Whereas the first 2 albums were these writhing undulating tentacles in the murk, for this album the fog has lifted, the sky is starry and thing are a little less scary.
After the intro “Searching for R. Olmstead”, the 9 and half miute “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” gets right to it, which is a good sign after the slow build that started Teliki-Li, with shimmery, but sharp melodic riffs and the stunning transition around the 6 minute mark shows the band can still deliver the goods. “When the Stars Align” is shorter song, but delivers a gorgeous, if all too short climax.
Another 9 minute beast, “The Ritual” follows, and finally shows a bit of the band’s early unsettling throes with a patient, slow burning gait before a shimmery , but dissonant explosion about 4 minutes in. After some spoken words in “The Wanderings” my favorite track from the album, “In Screams in Flames” strikes the perfect balance between slithering, caustic and crystalline black metal, and at just under 8 minutes, it doesn’t not linger like the 9 and 10 minute numbers in the scene and on the album. And speaking of which, “Mare Infinitum” ends the album on a meandering note after a promising first half of the track.
Ultimately though, A Tale of Dark Legacy isn’t hitting me as quick as the debut or sinking in eventually like the sophomore album. And while still a quality modern atmospheric black metal album, it’s one that will see The Great Old Ones not flirting with or being on my year end list, as the likes of Falls of Rauros and Ghost Bath will fill that void.[Visit the band's website]