Label: I, Voidhanger
Genre: Black / Death Metal
Release Date: October 19th, 2018
Esoctrilihum is the vision of one man, Asthâghul, from France. The project began its life as atmospheric black metal in 2017 with Mystic Echo From A Funeral Dimension, and morphed into an unearthly black/death metal monstrosity with Pandaemorthium (Forbidden Formulas To Awaken The Blind Sovereigns Of Nothingness) earlier this year. I’ve been a fan since finding Mystic Echo and have been eagerly following the development of this band. I have to confess up front, that I was blown away by the evolution from the first release to the second; the inclusion of death metal into Esoctrilihum’s black sorcery was the missing piece for me. Finding out that there was going to be a second release in the same year, and another full-length no less, was a welcome surprise; I have been eagerly waiting to hear Inhüma since the announcement, and it completely lived up to my hype.
Asthâghul is credited across the releases as the sole musician and vocalist, which is impressive normally; it is astounding considering the content of this album. If you had to slap a genre label on Inhüma it would have to be black/death, and that is a necessary oversimplification. The music has a much more black metal focus this time around; death metal is present as well, but it is over-shadowed and out-paced. The moments of death metal, or even black/death, feel very much like a relief from the onslaught. Along with the intense and dynamic black metal, there is a claustrophobic and hallucinogenic ambience that slowly opens itself into psychedelia, symphonic, and even progressive realms. Primarily on the later cuts of the album, instruments not native to the metal landscape become prominent. Normally anything symphonic in metal tends to come off too saccharine for my tastes, but Asthâghul keeps even these moments within a haunting and uneasy atmosphere, sacrificing nothing that came before.
Vocals on this album run the gamut; everything in the black metal spectrum seems to be utilized along the way, with the death metal growls being low and deep. The entirety of the vocal performance is free of faults or missteps; never grating or out of place, the screams and growls always have the perfect place in the mix as well. The lyrics are drenched in obscurity that would take a long time, and the help of the writer himself, to decode; they are well written and fit effortlessly with the music. Topics of the lyrics center on cosmic beings similar to the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft; which can also be noticed in the evocative cover art depicting a human-like winged creature pierced by spikes, bleeding, and exhaling white flame from a sharp-toothed mouth.
Most of the songs on this album are on the longer end, averaging around seven minutes per song. On Pandaemorthium, some of the songs felt artificially lengthened by sections played ad nauseam; many songs ended with a repeating melody which slowly faded out, and that is thankfully absent from Inhüma. Asthâghul has refined everything that made the last release great, and shed the rest like snake skin. Trimming both the length of songs and the number of tracks on this album certainly helped to hone the sharp skills and talent present on previous releases.
Dramath Ürh is easily my favorite song on the album, as well as a favorite of the band’s discography with some close competition. It starts off with quieter guitar riffs before bursting into a black metal maelstrom as the vocals bark along rhythmically and melody creeps in. The middle section slows down into an eerie melody before exploding back into a furious flow of black metal. I loved the transitions between the segments, and how seamlessly all these ideas melded into the whole. I have to mention Yhtri’lhn for how much I enjoyed the unusual melody and sounds throughout the phases of the song; manic and anxious, the song blurs along, leaping violently to the next chunk without upending the cohesion. Lörth Volth Lynhnzael also deserves recognition because it is outstanding as the album’s closer; haunting, epic, and intense with little respite, ultimately ending the album in a most satisfactory and unexpected way.
Cacophonous and suffocating, and at other times melodic and epic, but never hopeful; Inhüma is the best album I have heard so far this year. Esoctrilihum has always been what you get if madness was made into music; Inhüma is the complete and terrifying vision of, what I can only assume is, an actual cultist trying to summon gods.
1. Ȋnḉursȗs Ȋnto Dǽtḩ Ħaȗstḫ
2. Ḃlodḫ Şacȓeṁonḩ
3. Ĕxḫorțathŷon Ǭd Ṡatḫs Şcȓipţuṁ
4. Drẳmaŧh Ůrḩ
6. Ẏhŧrį’lḩn (Ŧhe Ŀast Age Ǫf Ũkḩn)
7. Ặevęnḋḩ Şaḋḩ
8. Ŀortḫ Ṿoltḩ Ŀynḩnẓǽl (Ŀost Ȋn Ŧhe Ṡtorm Ǫf Ȋtshka Ḃlood)
Total Playing Time: 55:52