The Great Old Ones

France’s The Great Old Ones took the black metal world by storm back in 2012, with their critically acclaimed debut, Al-Azif back in 2012. A full two years later, the band has released the follow up, continuing the Lovecraftian/Chthulu mythos based form of shimmering post black metal, and appear to be ready to pick up the mantle dropped by Wolves in the Throne Room, and their shift (at least for now) into more ambient soundscapes.

Admittedly Tekeli- Li (a chant of the Shoggoths, the creatures of Lovecraftian lore) takes a while to get going with two track to start the album in 2 minute instrumental/intro “Je Ne Suis pas Fou” and 9 minute slow burner “Antarctica” setting the tone for the album’s story/concept with French spoken words (which litter the album) and windy, slower twisty riffs. It’s not until the final two minutes of “Antartica” that we get a hint of shimmery, melodic black metal, and that’s short lived, as “The Elder Things” again comes in with more slower, deliberate, building moods, before revealing it’s vast slithering tendrils of dread inducing yet beautiful black metal about half way into its 9 minute run time, that made the debut so alluring yet horrifying

Tekeli-Li is certainly less immediate than the debut, with even more moody, ebbing and building riffs in the lengthy songs, but the payoff is immense for the patient listener who is willing to sit and absorb the slithering elegance. Whereas most Chthulu/Lovecraft inspired metal is dirty, filthy and dread inducing, The Great Old Ones  use more shimmering, tense and airy riffs and moments rather than crumbling claustrophobia, and presents the mythos in a more regal, hymnal and other wordly tone.

The material is far more candescent than murky as the likes of “Awakening” and  the more urgent cascade of “The Ascend”, the album’s most direct and immediate instrumental  track , display with artful confidence, with “The Ascend” closing   with an elegant /string acoustic few minutes. But the album’s centerpiece id the 17 minute closer, “Behind the Mountains”, and makes the album worth owning just for this track. The Deathspell Omega on opium presents a languid but atonal journey of layered, gorgeous chaos and swaying acoustics.

Ultimately, Teleki-Li is a far more patient and deliberate album than Al-Azif was. It’s many tendrils and layers will take multiple listen to glean, but the dreadful majesty does eventually reveal itself to those willing to accept the darkness.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 4th, 2014


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    oh man, the sample song is goddamn amazing. I love how in with the Blut Aus Nord/Deathspell Omega spiraling hellscapes there’s some really pretty, nerve-wracking melodies. this is amazing.

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