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Escotrilihum – Eternity Of Shaog Award winner

Eternity Of Shaog
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 25 May 2020, 4:41 AM

When I first received this promo, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Italian act.  The cover art features this crazy albeit corny looking alien (I’m assuming this is Shaog) and the song titles are outrageous mouth fulls that are a pain in the ass to type.  But  “ESOCTRILIHUM’s  fifth album “Eternity Of Shaog,” is one hell of a black metal album—it checks off all the boxes for stuff I look for with the genre.  Hell, it even has interesting production because the vocals are necro as fuck but the music is a dirty polish.  Vocally, it is raw but very meaty. The blackened screams aren't high pitched or shrill but instead acidic with grit forced thru them–very powerful and sharp.  Musically, the band has all the hallmarks of what makes a good BM band: tight drumming, edgy riffs and a ferocious attack. Oh did I mention that this “band” is just one person named Asthaguhl? Yes, you read that correctly: this is yet another one man band that kicks ultimate ass.  Why does this keeping happening?  Who cares!

However, this album has a very subtle approach with melody. Still, it doesn't focus on this but rather uses it to heighten certain aspects of the songs. Musically speaking, the guitar is very much the focus whether through riffs or lead harmonies/solos. The opening track, “Orthal”, displays these elements early on with tinges of melody ringing on top of The riffs and drums.  Over halfway thru the track the riffs get hammered in with a well place breakdown.  This might be the shortest and most direction song on the album but it makes for an explosive intro to the rest of the work.

The second track, “Exh-Enî Söph (1st Passage: Exiled from Sanity),” feels like a natural extension of the opener that builds up on its ideas. The entire album is presented this way, a non stop flow of music that pulses with excitement as it ebbs and flows. The keyboards over the riffs around the 1:30 mark adds a spacey dimension to the song while the vocals paint a cold, Hellish landscape. The quiet, ambient part and the accompany movement a little after four minutes in, is drearily tranquil sort of like near infinite suffering that finally gets its release after begging for so long on the sweet embrace of death.

The lighter moments and the heavier aspects of the album just play so well on each other. I doubt either of them would be as effective without each other, a true mix of styles working together for one core sound. On the sixth track “Amenthlys (5th Passage: Through the Yth-Whtu Seal),” I loved how the keys dance around the bass before the swirling buzz saw guitars work their way through. Not only is it fresh sounding and very clever, it lead by ears to the rest of the track and made me focused on some of the more nuanced aspects, like the mid symphonic section backed by a barrage of double bass that rocked my headphones.  Once again, I must praise the production because I can focus on anyone aspect of pieces that make up the songs and never get lost—I can hear each path that each instrument makes even though these songs are just straight up fucking crazy.

“Namhera (7th Passage: Blasphemy of Ephereàs)” is another shorter burst of space infused black metal but the dynamics that make the longer songs so well received are still present.  This one in particular is rather creepy, especially with that sneaky melody present towards song’s ends with the vocals being screamed out in a fit of archaic rage. “Monotony of a Putrid Life in the Eternal Nothingness,” is even better than the song’s title.  Almost immediately it presents itself with a miasma of suffocating atmosphere.  Even for an album that is out there, this song still manages to sound different from the rest of the tracks.  It has a sort of subdued fervor to it, an almost quiet danger that just creeps up on you.  Towards the end, the song gradually speeds up before fading out, leaving one’s thoughts to try and dissect what it is that just entered and left the ear canals.

I’ve never heard this band/project before but I’ll be damned if Asthaghul didn’t write a spectacular black metal work of art that takes a different approach than most. “Eternity of Shaog,” is an album filled to the brim with great ideas and the talent behind it  to make them work.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Orthal
2. Exh-Enî Söph (1st Passage: Exiled from Sanity)
3. Thritônh (2nd Passage: The Colour of Death)
4. Aylowenn Aela (3rd Passage: The Undying Citadel)
5. Shtg (4th Passage: Frozen Soul)
6. Amenthlys (5th Passage: Through the Yth-Whtu Seal)
7. Shayr-Thàs (6th Passage: Walk the Oracular Way)
8. Namhera (7th Passage: Blasphemy of Ephereàs)
9. Eternity of Shaog (∞th Passage: Grave of Agony)
10. Monotony of a Putrid Life in the Eternal Nothingness
Asthaghul – All Instruments
Record Label: I,Voidhanger Records


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