The Great Old Ones - Tekeli-Li

The amount of metal albums based on J.R.R Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft stories is overwhelming, and yet more bands choose these themes for their works and manage to create great music worth the time and effort. Tekeli-Li, the second full-length album by the French black metallers The Great Old Ones, is based on Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness, a grim novella about existence of alien life under Antarctica. Expectations were high after the promising debut Al Azif, benefiting from their own artistic vision and Lovecraft's tormenting atmosphere, these guys find their rightful place among all the other masters of unconventional black metal. 

The opener Je Ne Suis Pas Fou works like a gate welcoming you to the mysterious realm under the sea, until Antarctica reveals what this music really is, multi-headed black metal flowing forward with serpentine grace. Like a killer whale trapped under sheets of ice, the music sometimes slows down to recognize the weak points in ice, and after a few scary moments of frustration, breaks through in an explosion of brilliance.

The Great Old Ones know how to give the familiar black metal elements new meanings, blasting drums are no more there just out of necessity, inhumane performance doesn't mean anything if it doesn't fit the setting, and if they have to use ambient or acoustic parts to make this work, they will do just that. This music is all about world-building, if you are so bold to write music about fantastic alien cities and humans falling prey to alien experiments, you can't just leave it at raw black metal and shrieking vocals. The atmosphere becomes the most important side of the music and The Great Old Ones, being great and old, are fully aware of this. The magnificent album closer Behind The Mountains is a perfect example of mixing Reverence, Darkspace and Altar of Plagues. All these bands play some black metal but they've got nothing to do with each other. Tekeli-Li is a carefully woven epic from everything black metal. 

This is easily one of high marks of black metal this year, to be honest I expected nothing less from this band, they are French after all. You can stream/buy the album on The Great Old Ones bandcamp.