(Copyright © 2024 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Mystic Echo From a Funeral Dimension (2017), 6/10
Pandaemorthium (2018), 5/10
Inhuma (2018), 6.5/10
The Telluric Ashes of the OĻ Vrth Immemorial Gods (2019), 6/10
Eternity of Shaog (2020), 6.5/10
Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath (2021), 6/10
Consecration of the Spiritus Flesh (2022), 6/10
Saopth's (2022), 5/10
Funeral (2023), 5/10
Astraal Constellations of the Majickal Zodiac (2023), 4/10

Esoctrilihum, the solo project of a French singer and multi-instrumentalist who called himself Asthaghul, launched an effective form of black-metal on Mystic Echo From a Funeral Dimension (2017). All the song except one are nine-minute long, and his deep growl conducts a dense, lugubrious and visceral show that is full of surprises. Ancient Ceremony From Astral Land builds up momentum with infernal shrieks, wall of guitar noise and anthemic synth lines before resting on a soothing ambient expanse. If that balance of violence and quiet sounds a bit artificial, the formula works even better in Following the Mystical Light of the Shadow Forest (Final Path to Death), a set of variations on stately frenzy. Infernus Spiritas may be messy and dizzying but the use of clean guitar and dissonant guitar attacks the foundations of the genre. The structure is even more varied in BltQb (Black Collapse), which is basically a mini-suite and has more chaos than black-metal cliches with the purpose of maximizing the dramatic effect. Mighty Darkness lays down the best orchestration of blast-beats versus non-beats. The similarities to contemporary one-man bands Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum are limited: Esoctrilihum has neither the gothic focus of the former nor the cosmic yearning of the latter.

The sprawling Pandaemorthium (2018) is generally more formulaic black metal which drags on way too long. There is nothing wrong with Rotting Way of Damnation except that there is nothing exciting about it. Prison of Flesh stands out for impact and variety.

A muffled production increased the density of sound on Inhuma (2018), a return to form thanks to the torrential and breathless Exhortathyon Od Saths Scriptum (one of their career's peaks), the cannibal war dance Dramath Urh (one of the most repulsive and unpredictable compositions) and the incenerating wall of noise of Lorth Volth Lynhnzael. The 75-minute The Telluric Ashes of the OĻ Vrth Immemorial Gods (2019) employs an even more booming production, which further enhances the "battle" feeling of armored songs like Kros O Vrth and Listael V, and makes super-heavy songs like Invisible Manifestation of Delirium God more akin to bomb making than to music. The "progressive" approach of early Esoctrilihum shows up in Stone of Static, which benefits from vocal and instrumental variety, and in Torment of Death, with the most gossamer break of the album. There is, however, much that is redundant.

The deluge of music continued with the slightly more concise and much more user-friendly Eternity of Shaog (2020), aiming for a grand and majestic feeling that is more typical of doom-metal than of black metal. At the onset, Exh-Eni Soph boasts a catchy refrain and shows that the extremes can coexist by smoothly alternating and weaving together melodic sections and heavy sections. The guitar intones medieval-sounding refrains in Amenthlys over death-metal riffing. Pomp and melodrama erupt in Shayr-Thas. Eternity of Shaog is close to sounding like vintage-era industrial-punk Ministry. tries to conjure a The album incorporates folk instruments, although often in a rather trivial and amateurish way. Some kind of zither and keyboard join the pulverizing frenzy of Thritonh, perhaps the melodic zenith.

After 5 albums and 2 EPs in 4 years, Esoctrilihum continued to flood the Internet with self-produced releases. Unfortunately the quality was becoming inversely proportional to the quantity, and repetition was becoming the norm. He moved towards prog-metal and plain pop-metal on Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath (2021), with moody keyboards and strings-sounding synths to embellish trivial melodies like in Agakuh. Blast-beats are of wall-shaking degree in Dyth (which ends with a catchy carillon), but Baahl Duthr ends up sounding like dark-punk with growling vocals. Luckily, there is still plenty of energy in the thundering and infernal Nomines Haar and especially in the beastly and epileptic Xuiotg.

Consecration of the Spiritus Flesh (2022), an unusually short album, packs as much ferocity as the previous three combined, harking back to Inhuma. Spiritus Flesh makes one realize how the Sex Pistols would sound if they played black metal. It's mainly an album of demonic invocations, notably Shohih, still in search of the sweeping melody in Thertrh and of symphonic grandeur in Sydtg. Saopth's (2022), another relatively short album, feels like a collection of leftovers from Dy'th Requiem.

Funeral (2023) contains six lengthy pieces, starting with the pop-metal ballad Funeral, followed by self-indulgent displays of prog-metal that overstay their welcome like the 15-minute Thurldaesu. A pipe organ floods Pact but the effect quickly dissipates as the song drags on and on. Paithas, the standout, is impressive for how it employs multiple keyboard and string instruments next to some hard-rock riffs.

The triple-disc Astraal Constellations of the Majickal Zodiac (2023) feels like a collection of unreleased leftovers. The longer pieces in particular (Zi-Dynh-Gtir and Serpathei-Xythion) abuse stereotypes and repetition, bordering on self-parody.

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