Rising once more from the blackened, sulphurous depths of Bordeaux, France, The Great Old Ones return with Cosmicism (Season of Mist), a fourth full-length release inspired by works of classic cosmic horror writer HP Lovecraft.
A deformed, sprawling obscenity, each song serves as a tenebrous, tentacular limb probing and grasping for possession of your mind. Reaching gently at first, the quiet introductory strains of ‘Cosmic Depths’ draw you in, the opening to ‘The Omniscient’ prolonging that sense of auditory disquiet before finally unleashing a barrage of barbarous blastbeats and scything riffs, building to a deafening crescendo of cyclopean terror.
‘Of Dementia’ is a serpentine coil of subterranean black metal riffs and chanted choral backing, while ‘Lost Carcosa’ is full of labyrinthine twists and turns, foreshadowing as yet unseen lurking terrors. The eleven-minute highlight of ‘A Thousand Young’ is discordant and unsettling before culminating in an explosion of viperous blasphemy, and ‘Dreams of the Nuclear Chaos’ is appropriately apocalyptic in its grim, mouldering vision. The bass-driven menace of ‘Nyarlathotep’ inexorably sucks you into its blackened vortex, while the tumultuous final cut ‘To a Dreamer’ rumbles ominously, whipping itself into a pulsating fury as it builds to a gargantuan climax.
All flowery descriptions and adjectives aside, Cosmicism is arguably The Great Old Ones most complete work to date. The songs are intelligently paced, varying in tempo to suit the mood of each individual piece. Chanted vocals play over brooding basslines, acoustic passages preface or follow bursts of frantic tremolo picking, well-crafted guitar solos heighten the drama, and complex drum patterns augment ominous breakdowns, creating a disquieting calm before the inevitable whirlwind.
Emerging from the black, membranous shadows of R’lyeh, Cosmicism is a more than worthy tribute to the Elder Gods. Cthulhu Fhtagn.
8 / 10