The Great Old Ones
Cosmicism


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (289 Reviews)
November 8th, 2019 | 48 replies


Release Date: 10/22/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cosmicism sees The Great Old Ones once again embracing Lovecraftian inspiration, this time with extra narrative and greater bombast.

The legendary, timeless works of H.P. Lovecraft may now be a common point of inspiration for extreme metal bands the world over, but over time France's The Great Old Ones have often been the band to talk about with relation to the topic. Now four albums into an already illustrious musical career, the Gallic post/black metal sextet have gone from strength to strength by simply devoting their minds and hearts to a whole library of literary brilliance. Up to now the band have seemed content to dwell in the underground, but latest full-length effort Cosmicism seems to focus on changing that.

The best aspect of TGOO has really been their ability to weave storytelling into their usual brand of menacing, almost cinematic approach to black metal. There are times in Cosmicism where the storytelling focus almost eclipses that of the instrumental performance, and that's probably why first impressions of songs such as”The Omniscient” and “Of Dementia” won't be great for every listener. “The Omniscient” is a bit of a slow-burner for the first few minutes, though unfortunately harbours similar riffs to that of previous albums, where the same musical aspect felt a little fresher and more original. And yet, when it explodes, the song does so with such vigour and passion that the listener's momentary passing interest becomes wide-eyed excitement. “Of Dementia” is more immediate sure, but doesn't quite settle until its riveting second half opens up with traditional albeit well-placed and thrilling solos, providing striking moments of adventurous musicianship until the bitter end. What I'm getting at here is that the band have seemingly embraced progressive tropes, resulting in more build-ups, more bombastic soundscapes and less immediate black metal reliance.

If by the end of “Of Dementia” you're still left wondering when the band are really going to come into their own, the album's second half should help. It's with the thrilling “Lost Carcosa”-and subsequently the rest of the album thereafter-that things open up. “Lost Carcosa” turns out to be arguably one of the fastest and heaviest songs in the band's cannon, an initially nihilistic number which explores extreme metal at its most sinister and results in one of the most melancholic final minutes of a song TGOO have produced. In spite of its lack of originality regarding riffs, “A Thousand Young” seems fully focused on orchestral performance and less so on the rhythm section. Helped by a somewhat beefier production, the bitter vocal work becomes more menacing as its narrative approach explores the concept behind the music, as opposed to the other way around. If you don't care for conceptual importance in an extreme metal song and not so much outstanding experimentation, songs such as “A Thousand Young” may not be for you.

Where Cosmicism also approaches things differently is with its use of narrative-style vocals. As alluded to previously, the narrative has become something of a centrepoint in most of the album's songs, but it's also the vocal department that has been affected. Before we merely heard Benjamin Guerry either whisper quotes ripped straight from a Lovecraftian tale, but here there are moments where his clean vocals (rare, as they still are) come into play. “Of Dementia” and “Lost Carcosa” are probably the best examples of this. The former features Guerry at his most melancholic-albeit for a brief time period-alongside immediate musicianship and scything riff work, whereas the latter, still immediate, pours forth its inspiration via Guerry's narrative, echoing whispers. Closer “Nyarlathotep” embraces this aspect fully however, not just in its narrative focus but its instrumental progression too. Unlike every other song before, the doom-laden approach opens up bombastic musicianship and, in similar fashion to the final song of previous album EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy, ends the album on a high. For the sole reason of being orchestral and daring exactly where it needs to be, Cosmicism's closing track is a statement of intent and, for the third time in the band's career, leaves the listener asking where TGOO will go from here.

Cosmicism will take a bit more getting used to than previous albums of course, but it's clear that The Great Old Ones are seeking ways in which to take their Lovecraftian inspiration to loftier heights (or more hellish depths), a move which may or may not see them embracing a bigger future. An uncertain point to make, of course, but such is the ambition of Cosmicism that the band have embraced all aspects of their chosen literary concept.



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user ratings (91)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2019


2622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Took a while to write.



c/c welcome as always.

Azog
November 8th 2019


266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As with all of their albums, I like it. I just don't love it.

Pikazilla
November 8th 2019


6971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The boys have delivered again.

teamster
November 8th 2019


4519 Comments


Agree Azog. I should really love this band but their stuff has always been good to great to me.

NOTINTHEFACE
November 8th 2019


1908 Comments


Fantastic album, and for me at least really solidified that the band is more than just a gimmick. There are clear and visible steps forward on this release, and it sounds fresh and reluctant to recycle old atmospheres and ideas (although it does still do that occasionally). Nyartholep is just crushing, and may be my favorite track of 2019 so far.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2019


2622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nyartholep is just crushing, and may be my favorite track of 2019 so far.



Certainly the best song of the album imo.

mindleviticus
November 8th 2019


10048 Comments


Ngl I never really got into anything these guys came up with. The kind of relentless but 'too atmospheric' bm just wears me down as a listener, kind of like Downfall of Gaia as well. Perhaps this is different though.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2019


10936 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Day made

trilo
November 8th 2019


2879 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sick review as always



yeah Nyarlathotep is def my favorite here. so dope

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2019


2622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's such a great album climax.

zaruyache
November 8th 2019


21665 Comments


INTERKOSMIC TENTAKL TREMS






OV THE VOID


Flugmorph
November 8th 2019


22147 Comments


epic

Digging: Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race

MementoMori
November 8th 2019


135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album rules. I was none to satisfied with their previous release, but this one really hit the mark for me.

P.S. I actually really enjoyed 'The Omnniscient' as well. Track rules.

Digging: Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race

Pikazilla
November 8th 2019


6971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Approved by Lord Cthulhu himself

zakalwe
November 8th 2019


29351 Comments


Is this cos-mik-ism or cos-me-si-sum?

Pikazilla
November 8th 2019


6971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

with the si not ki

zakalwe
November 8th 2019


29351 Comments


Yeah? I’m erring towards cosmikism.

French though innit. Oh est le cosmic ism sil vous plait

DarkNoctus
November 9th 2019


10918 Comments


i've never been all that into these guys, last album was okay

is this album much different to the other ones?

trilo
November 9th 2019


2879 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not really

Deathconscious
November 9th 2019


23269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eejwywyw727



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