Remember movies? We used to pack people into theaters to see huge, fantastical stories play out in front of us, distracting us for a few hours and letting our imaginations run amok. It’s not like we don’t have movies anymore, but we’re not going to theaters in anywhere near the clip we did before the pandemic struck, so that aspect of escapism has taken a back seat for now.
It’s still possible to be overcome by big stories, major themes, and the overall hugeness of that style away from a theater, and Esoctrilihum, the project helmed by sole artist Asthâghul (vocals, guitars, bass, drums, synths, violins, piano) is out to prove that. Well, maybe that’s not the sole purpose, but the music, deeply situated in doom, black metal, and plenty of other dark tidings, always has been content you cannot just sample. You have to commit, which Asthâghul proves again on “Dy’th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath,” his sixth album in five years and his lengthiest at 12 tracks and nearly 78 minutes. It’s a four-part epic that tells the story of the death, transfiguration, and rebirth of the Serpentine Telepath, a character in the midst of Asthâghul’s universe who gets an entire tale told over this bold, thunderous, highly adventurous album that will keep you riveted the entire time.
The record starts with “Part I – Serpentine Lamentations of Death” and the first track “Ezkikur” is spacious as the growls rustle and carve, and beastly playing mixes with chilling synth. The keys swim in the murk as icy waves lap over, majestic melodies flood, and the chugging fades and heads into “Sahln” where strings stir, and the growls carve flesh. The synth layers in and creates a regal vibe, the playing is wrenching but melodic, and the growls lurch hard. The pace chugs as the drums echo, the intensity bursts, and the growls submit to heavy psychosis. “Tyurh” lets the synth spread as similar melodies settle in, and savagery punishes you. The pace bursts as the keys again establish their stronghold, sounds feel like they blend through time, and guitars charge violently, bleeding into the next section, “Part II – The Secret Doctrines of Transmigration.” The first track of that segment is “Baahl Duthr” where intense riffs explode and drive in daggers, and gruff growls sink in their claws. There’s a thick atmosphere, the drumming crashes through, meaty thrashing takes hold, and the pace storms with quaking vocals and strange chants that sprawl to the end. “Αgakuh” unloads another punishing set of riffs, the growls are gurgly and gnarly, and the playing digs deep into your rib cage. The synth then detonates, the atmosphere swarms, and the vocals come alive again, basking in the nasty ugliness it established. “Eginbaal” has keys storming and the drums smashing, as icy pressure is established and arrests your cells. The riffs come to life and leave ample bruising, the leads are majestic and jolting, and moody strangeness floods and takes you into the next section.
“Part III – The Scarlet Flame of Transfiguration” begins with “Dy’th” and its stab of raw growls and vicious punishment. The playing trudges hard as the drums swallow you whole, and it feels like an utter massacre. It feels like sitting in total hell, strange riffs haunt you, and the horrors hang as the terror slips away. “Craânag” is a quick instrumental piece with pastoral synth and cataclysmic murk. The drums echo as the synth soothes, washing over your brain and into “Zhaïc Daemon” that charges up right from the start. Vicious pounding moves into a thick fog of keys that work toward you, crumbling into hell. The thing then gets spacious, great melodies rush through, and the growls swirl, moving toward the final chapter “Part IV – Methempsychosis of the Grand Telepath” and its opening cut “Nominès Haàr.” A sound cloud hangs over as the playing begins to slash, though clean notes do find their way into the blood. Synth sweeps as the pace continues to maul, growls snake through the creaky punishment, and entrancing melodies trick your mind into thinking it’s safe when it’s really not. “Xuiotg” lets guitars well up as haunting vibes settle over you, and gross growls makes the bile drive into the back of your throat. The track picks up and starts to destroy everything in front of it as anguished cries jolt, keys swoop, and the carnage floods until it slips into instrumental closer “Hjh’at” that already has weird vibes. Synth spreads as the playing takes on a Middle Eastern feel, the spirit grows stranger, and the track slips off into the unknown.
Esoctrilihum’s world is a bizarre one that has unfurled over each album under this banner that continues into “Dy’th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath.” The story that unfurls over this album’s 12 tracks is not of this world, and the music that accompanies the tale feels the exact same way. No idea how Asthâghul continues to be so prolific and powerful, coming back in short order with records as involved, imaginative, and punishing as this one that feels half as long as it is and keeps you tied into every ounce of the story until it finally unhands you.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Esoctrilihum-305266723253656
To buy the album, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/shop/
For more on the label, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/