158: ESOCTRILIHUM

Forgive me if this blog sounds repetitive at times, but I lately find myself completely smitten with one-man black metal projects, and the quality coming out in this field the last couple of years has been phenomenal.

With Esoctrilihum, French black metal maestro Asthâghul is both prolific and masterful. In the space of five years (2017-2021), Esoctrilihum have released six full length albums and an EP, and each have been critical hits.

My first experience with Esoctrilihum was the 2020 album, ‘Eternity of Shang’. I was blown away by this album. The variety and talent in these songs was insane. Track after track delivered some wonderfully uniquely performed black metal.

Deep dives into the back catalogue confirmed two things:

  1. The quality of Eternity of Shaog was not a one-off.
  2. The growth and evolution of sound from album to album was amazing to see unfold and, given the trajectory, whatever came next would be something special.

It turns out I was right.

Esoctrilihum’s latest album, ‘Dy’th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath’ is a masterpiece. It is 75 straight minutes of beautiful, powerful, exciting black metal.

With every track, the best description is expansive. These are black metal juggernauts. Multi-instrumental opuses featuring pounding riffs, strings, synths, and vocals that walk a fine line between the usual black metal vocals and something more terrifying.

At times, Esoctrilihum remind me of Darkthrone, which is the highest compliment I could give a black metal band – but given Darkthrone’s sound changes so constantly that probably every other black metal band has sounded like them at one point or another, perhaps it’s pointless. But Esoctrilihum’s use of steadier riffs does remind me of Darkthrone and is here used to great advantage.

Perhaps it’s the isolation of lockdowns in our strange times this past year, but the quality of these one-man black metal projects has just exploded of late. Esoctrilihum, especially the newest album, is a perfect example of this – this is the sort of music that makes you excited for the future of black metal.