Review Summary: Otherworldly black metal. Here is where complexity and accessibility meet
Affectional and challenging are the two first words that come to mind after the first few listens. Soon after the first song starts the listener will feel that the band are not making the simple, complex for the sake of complexity and their sound is not another barrage of intricacy to show off unemotional technical skills.
Formed in 1994 by ACHERNAR (vocals, bass and synths) and Cledvh (drums) it took 11 years for the band to release their debut. In the next 3 years the members took their time developing their songwriting skills and reaching a higher level of maturity. Listening to their demo "NEATH THE RAPTURE STREAMS "(1999) ep "L'INEFFABLE EMOI... DE CE QUI EXISTE "(2002) and debut "UNI AUX CIMES" (2005) this would not be difficult to notice the improvements of the band which are visible from almost every angle when getting involved in the Tourments et Perdition’s (2008) musical world.
Orakle’s Black Metal has some typical characteristics of this genre but at the same time defy the conventions of it by its changeful nature. Album's sound is extremely multilayered, without anything being overdone; each instrument has its distinct sound or color. Polyphonic structure gives each electric guitar a completely intelligible and clear lineament which never falls into inarticulate disorderliness that is not rare when it comes to polyphonic compositions. Often changes in time-signatures, Audibleness of bass-lines, dreamy well-mixed synth works, regrettably rare virtuosic guitar solos and crisp and clean production are of highly noticeable aspects of this masterpiece.
First track is an introduction to what one can expect from the album; a flamboyant tour de force made of well-arranged dialogues of instruments and Arabian modal concepts which give the song the connotations of warm and mysterious landscapes that also in cover art to some degree is apparent. It clocks in at about 3 minutes and a half but sets the mentioned sensation for approximately 50-minute length of the album. This tonality surrounds the whole album and does not let the elaborateness of songs stray the audience from the right path. Components of the song range from dynamic riffs and heavy blast beats to slow-paced spiral guitar duets and atmospheric synth works, from fast-paced painfully aggressive shrieks, screams and snarls to melodic whispery clean singing or well-trained baritone choral-like accompaniment.
It is likely to regard French lyrics as an obstacle of accessibility if taken at face value but considering aesthetics of this language and its poetic overtones, it has simply the potential of being an advantage. In spite of all these in an interview, ACHERNAR mentions that Orakle could not be precise enough to put the right words on some feelings in English and their native language is much more accurate and trustable when it comes to describing inner feelings.
Orakle's black metal is labeled as Progressive black metal so obviously some generic similarities are undeniably probable, listening to Tourments et Perdition I found out that the band keeps deep in its roots a high level of originality.
In an interview with Silent Scream Webzine ACHERNAR replies a question about band's main influences this way : I understand the comparison because we share the same taste for long epic and evolving songs, with many arrangements and layers, but to paraphrase a famous question from the movie “Dark City”, “are we more than the simple sum of our memories”? My answer is “yes”: of course this musical background is inseparable from our minds, but we create personal music. One thing is certain about our music, we create music from what we are, from personal things we want to express.