Keeping within the spirit of the headless cult, the always evolving and self-defining project of Set Sothis Nox La now sets out to unleash its first full-length in a decade, the eponymous L’Acéphale.
The tracks on this titanous, 74-minute magnum opus offer a varied, yet focused, listen with copious tension. While staying committed to their extreme metal roots and historical, literary themes, L’Acéphale incorporates and shines brightly with elements of monumental dark folk, spoken word, black metal, and almost martial art-forms.
Recorded over the course of six years at various locations, L’Acéphale is set to be released on April 19th 2019 via Eisenwald on all formats including glorious gatefolds for both CD and 2xLP.
As black as a starless night sky, L’Acéphale is a mysterious, yet enthralling listen. At its centre, black metal is the name of the game yet it has got much more going on then just the grim heaviness you’d expect. For starters, it’s not afraid to take risks. That is evidently clear with the 12+ minute opener, Sovereignty: (Dieu – Die Sonne stirbt – Sovereignty).
At first, it dives head first into a heavy rhythm with sharp jabs of guitars and a thundering drum beat. Then it slows things down to doom levels while upping the moodiness, melody and providing spoken word style vocals. It builds and builds before unleashing hellish blackness.
After such a savage finish, Gloria in Excelsis Mihi eases us further in with melody and female vocals sung in French. It’s fine but at 8 minutes long, it really begins to drag and you can’t help but hope for a bit more kick. Which we happily get with Runenberg and Hark! The Battle Cry is Ringing.
The former shoring up the chunky drum beat we’ve bore witness too so far while showcasing greasy riffs and throat-scratching vocals. The latter is heavy on atmospheric effects but it builds towards a really oppressive finale while staying deeply imaginative. A pair of effective…different…but effective tracks.
Keeping with the theme of each odd numbered track having a bit more of the traditional black heaviness to it, Last Will then takes that and runs wild with it up until the final few minutes. Easily the most traditionally track on the album. Whereas Sleep is again, heavily influenced by atmospheric sounds and effects, albeit structured around the intensity of black metal.
This does make it seem a bit unfocused at times, the constant shifting of styles but there is no doubting that L’Acéphale set out to do something unconventional here and it shows.
You can’t get more unconventional then Winternacht. The finale is nearly 20 minutes long and it has everything L’Acéphale is capable of in one lengthy closer. Raging black metal built on a foundation of ritualistic drumming, exciting guitar rhythm that has flair to it and melodic switch and baits.
L’Acéphale – L’Acéphale Full Track Listing:
1. Sovereignty: (Dieu – Die Sonne stirbt – Sovereignty)
2. Gloria In Excelsis Mihi
4. Hark! The Battle Cry is Ringing
5. Last Will
L'Acéphale - L' Acéphale (Eisenwald)
The Final Score - 7.5/10