Auroch channel magic, spiritual tradition into black metal fires with EP ‘Stolen Angelic Tongues’

We’re trying to keep ourselves distracted and entertained over here so there is a little less yelling, “Holy shit, I do not know how to pass the hours if I’m not relentlessly busy, and someone please bring relief!” Yeah, there are worse problems, but your mental state is for real. Take care of it, and take care of you. Where the fuck am I going with this?

Oh, sure, the new Auroch, a release that’s a little different depending on the format you choose. The vinyl version (the one we are discussing today) is called “Stolen Angelic Tongues,” while the CD is “All the Names of the Night,” which includes three extra songs from the band’s past that were only available via vinyl before. So, the whole distraction thing. Having new music from this Canadian death metal powerhouse, the first we’ve gotten in four years (2016’s tremendous “Mute Books” was their last), was enough of a boost for me to give me some perverse happiness for the 18 minutes they offer up on these deadly five tracks. The band—returning vocalist Culain, guitarists Sebastian Montesi and Philip Fiess, bassist Shawn Hache, and drummer Zack Chandler—sounds absolutely channeled on this release, a fire-breathing machine inspired by the magic pasts of the Caribbean and South America which bleeds through on these devastating new songs. It’s a mauler.

“Shattering the Axis Mundi” is a quick intro cut with chants that sound like they’re delivered swing style, pianos dripping, and static building, leading into “Hideous New Gods” that tears open and exposes rotting guts while melodies lap and churn. The shout of “burn!” is followed by soloing ripping out, the band dominating, and everything disappearing into ash. “Carving the Axis Mundi” trudges heavily from the start as the growls bury you, and the guitars carve paths through your mind. Whispers flurry in the air like ghosts while the pace finds a way to hammer even harder, and eventually things turn hypnotic. Vile screams and a speedy assault blend together, while whispers return and trick your mind into accepting this strange new reality. “Coffin Nails” is a total assault with the guitars dive bombing and complete destruction being staged to your horror. The playing is defacing while the growls crush, the soling blazes, and you’re caught up in a suffocating whirlwind that leads to closer “Erecting the Axis Mundi” where noises waft immediately. Throat chants haunt as acoustics push in, making it feel like you’re locked in an ancient tomb where you’re forced to live your days in eternity.

Having Auroch back is a joy, which is a weird thing to say about a band that creates mind-chewing death metal. But OK, look, “Stolen Angelic Tongues” (or “All the Names of the Night”) is a wholly satisfying smaller release that gives you enough to fill up but also leaves you wanting another helping. We don’t deserve Auroch because humanity is garbage, but basking in their devastating glory gives us a little bit of a break from people getting sick and absolute dumb fucks protesting staying healthy.

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