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Auroch: From Forgotten Worlds

I've recently been reading a book called Religion and its Monsters by Timothy Beal that discusses the ways in which discussions of religion and discussions of monsters sometimes parallel one another. I won't go into the whole argument here, but the idea that we live in a world where we sometimes think about Gods and monsters in similar ways can make for some interesting discussion. Take, for instance, much of the work of H. P. Lovecraft, a sometimes overlooked American author who developed a form of fiction he liked to call "weird." By weird, of course, he meant a type of writing that reminded human beings that we may not be the center of the universe and that, perhaps, we are little more than tiny, irrelevant, persons inadvertently participating in a larger cosmic drama we know nothing about.

Lovecraft has many readers, critics, and detractors. Yes, his work is sometimes too longwinded, his dialogue too spare, and his monsters too-often indescribable. Nevertheless, he has captured the imaginations of thousands of readers. Within popular culture, his work shows up in so many guises that some people, I'll bet, would be surprised to find out what his stories are really about. I can't say that I understand everything Lovecraft wrote (who can?), but I have made the attempt, from time to time, to put forward a few thoughts of my own.

From my point of view, when bands like Auroch draw on the work of H. P. Lovecraft--even through passing references and allusions--they are offering what we might call cultural interpretations, things that not only perpetuate the importance of the tales, but also offer us potentially new ways of thinking about them. With this album, Auroch seems most interested in reminding us of the ways Lovecraft concerns himself with man's overall cosmic insignificance. Moreover, they develop some of the themes, often exploited by the darkest of metal bands, that tie Lovecraft to forbidden powers. I can't speak to all of this in a short review, but I gather, from reading the lyrics to this album, that these guys really want to imagine what would happen if the forces of chaos (monsters), advanced closer to our world than we'd like.

Musically, this album is strong; it's mostly a nice blend of what (to me) sounded like old-school Death and Morbid Angel, but with a definite sense that these guys have kept up with some of the newer bands. I won't list them, but I think that fans will hear the blending of styles here. I thought the album was strongest when it highlighted the guitars--particularly the solos and the occasional harmonies. These guys take advantage of their twin-guitar attack and it works to great effect. As for the vocals, I've always been open about the fact that I usually struggle with death metal vocals that I can't quite understand. Yes, I know that the vocals should probably be understood as an additional musical instrument, perhaps even an attempt to rid us of conventional notions of melody, etc. etc. In this case, though, the lyrics to these songs are actually trying to think about some pretty dark stuff; listeners, I think, ought to have a chance to wonder over these things. Perhaps the singer ought to find ways to help us hear what the band has worked so hard to put together. I'd suggest that listeners give this one a spin.

Track Listing:
1. From Forgotten Worlds
2. Fleshless Ascension (Paths of Dawn)
3. Slaves to a Flame Undying
4. Dregs of Sanity
5. Talisman for Total Temporal Collapse
6. Terra Akeldama
7. Bloodborne Conspiracy
8. Tundra Moon

Added: September 22nd 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2601
Language: english

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