ALBUM REVIEW: The Grand Noir – Eschatos

One of the best bands too come out of Latvia in recent years are ESCHATOS who are back to please their true old school black metal fans as they are officially releasing their breathtaking second album The Grand Noir on cassette. The album originally came out in May 2015 but is now becoming available on cassette with only 100 copies for sale.

ESCHATOS originally formed in 2012 and within those three years The Grand Noir is by far their best work yet. Their style sticks to a base of traditional black metal but merges with hints of atmospheric, progressive and death metal. The idea of all these genres coming together sounds crazy but the sound is intense and enthralling.

The opening and most mesmerising track of The Grand Noir is The Grand Noir Rising which completely lives up to the term grand. The track is completely spellbinding, starting off slow with echoing plucks of guitar with other tones drifting in from the back ground joined by hand drums which creates a forceful hypnotic atmosphere giving you the feeling of a pre-Viking battle song only to be enhanced with the occasional singing chant. The Grand Noir Rising provides the perfect set up for the rest of the album to follow, as the battle is only beginning and ESCHATOS has plenty more motivating and fist pumping songs too follow.

Very few of ESCHATOS’ front woman Kristiāna Kārkliņa‘s vocals were featured in the opening song, it is only now in the second track lasting a mighty seven and a half minutes In Whole Alone Is Good And Elsewhere Nowhere that you get to experience the sheer quality of growls and screams. It’s amazing and quite unusual to see a female vocalist perfect the dark and evil tone that goes so well with black metal. The lyrics for this song focus mainly on the themes of death, with the music at a perfect mosh pit pace before slowing down slightly to ease in the singing. The guitars then step the beat back up with a progressive twist keeping your attention and your need for dancing or pitting thriving.

Starting with a somewhat different sound to the rest of their songs is The First The Last And The Living with a slightly SATYRICON-esque sounding beginning, this is one of the songs that is a touch slower than the rest with dynamic and rhythmic riffs instead of the straight forward, fast paced tremolo picking black metal. During an intense moment of the song Kristiāna Kārkliņa recites a passage from the bible making it feel twisted with an echoing evil satanic atmosphere.

Overall The Grand Noir is outstanding to listen to with its traditional black metal sound which is produced to a good standard without losing its raw, rustic and necro black metal charm. ESCHATOS have managed to combine some very different genres together while still making it sound incredible and extreme, this is definitely not an album to overlook.

Rating: 9/10

The Grand Noir - Eschatos

The Grand Noir is set to be released on cassette on October 7th via Starwolf Records.

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