Legends Of Evil And Eternal Death

Iím not sure if this review will actually do this release any justice, as I havenít really let this release sink in yet. Thus, I am using this medium to convey my first impressions and to transcend a fraction of how captivated I was on initial listening.

What we have here is the perhaps the boldest release that Drakkar has dared to unveil on the underground, and their most melodic venture since Celestia. This isnít melodic in the symphonic, pompous manner employed by label mates Anaon or Seth, or the high-pitched, warm Swedish sonority that Celestia peddle, but an epic, evocative take on *truly* melodic black metal.

The Hirilorn equation is consistent throughout the whole record, building entire songs upon the simple, yet enchanting noodlings of Sinnís lead guitar, much in the same manner as Ophthalamia employed their lead axe, only less random and less chirpy. Sinnís guitar exudes an incredible warmth and melancholia, being the focal point of the listenerís attention while epic song structures build around it in a most hypnotic and effortless manner. By epic, I mean *epic* here. Songs border 15 minutes each, but the sheer quality of the song writing on show here makes them a lot easier to digest than you would think. By Beelzebub, the fascinating intricacy, yet organic warmth of some of these melodies are enough to warrant a purchase, and create a more evocative and moving atmosphere than any of the pretentious neo-romantic synth tossers treading the planet, yet oozing an underground integrity and sound that will appease the underground community.

All the time, an aura of melancholic submission pervades the entire release, lending the album a sense of conviction and emotion that very few can hope to equal (Lycanthropy wielded some of this magic on As The Mourners Arise). Hirilorn arenít afraid to limit the extent of their melodicism, some of these guitar lines swell into unbelievably saccharine passages, yet always exuding a suicidal, mournful tone.

Along with Celestia, Temple Of Baal, Merrimack, Count Nosferatu and Seth, Hirilorn are one of the bands that prove that French is not only a source for the most misanthropic black metal (Belketre, Arkhon Infaustus) but a breeding ground for the consistently literate and melodic variety. Drakkar has surely courted controversy for presenting this masterpiece to the underground, so much deserved kudos goes to Drakkar for refusing to be pinned down as a mono-dimensional label, and much respect goes out to Hirilorn for putting out such a convincing effort of a debut. If you think melodic black metal self-combusted and degenerated into commercial cocksucking with the demise of Dissection, do give this a listen. A corker.


© 2000 equimanthorn