I just covered Éohum in a newsflash, writing that these guys really take you far down to the abyss where Black Metal dwells. Now, it can be worse, much worse.
Let me warn ye: If you look for warm and cozy melodies to carry you along, whilst you enjoy your crackling fire, then DO NOT open that door (open this door instead). If you are just a fan of lighter versions of all things Black and Doom Metal, DO NOT open that door. If you are ready to face the dark, howling abyss of one of the better Extreme Metal and Black Metal concoctions I had the pleasure to hear until now, then come in.
‘Cause the newest 2016 album κρέων (Creon) of the Swiss Extreme Metal band Rorcal will take you down there. And then still deeper to some forgotten place that is worse than Azatoth’s mad abode. Really beyond Dante’s inferno and his famed circles of hell. To an area of pain and sorrow that the likes of Dodecahedron occupy.
So, be afraid, be very afraid! Rorcal came into its unholy being in 2005 in the beautiful lakeside city of Geneva, Switzerland with a very Lovecraft-esque scheme. In the band’s own words and I quote: “To reach the deepest depths of darkness and express the unnamable”.
So, the exception confirms the rule: Switzerland is not necessarily known for good Black Metal outfits, but here you go. And indeed, the band spits this sludgy Extreme Metal of theirs at the audience with a refreshing vehemence.
Creon is the latest of three full-length albums. All this brewed as a stout, very bare bone and blackened Extreme Metal brand by a band of five. An increase in quality too, as it grinds their 2013 album Világvége straight into the dust.
The storyline or, more, the concept is based on Antigone, a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles around 441 BC. A gory story just befitting such an epos. The band put a lot of effort into the conceptional structure of the story itself. And indeed it catches the essence of the play and the overall atmosphere of such a … well … tragic story.
When I started on this blazing hot cauldron of metal at first, I thought Rorcal resembled a bunch of illicit, goddamn’ shoegazers gone astray and lost in some desert. A Swiss desert to boot.
But shortly thereafter Rorcal corrected themselves through the black magick they display.
Now, the style of Rorcal is best described as one of Myrkur‘s screaming attacks, only it is never-ending, mixed with a fair dose of the aforementioned Dodecahedron. Then add a barrel of Narbeleth, a pound or two of Ov Shadows, and a hundredweight of Darkend and you about have the mixture.
Now, all these names will tell you that Creon is not novel fare. Yet, the band takes traditional metal to a darker level. Without the rituals, others like to display. And Creon transports you down, far down on dark waves of Doom and Black Metal into the abyss to face unspeakable horrors that you will have nightmares from later.
Clocking at some 50+ minutes on four tracks, none of which is shorter than 11 minutes, this is a series of never-ending painful experiences. And all that pain comes in waves of mental torture.
κρέων (Creon) will take your brain and pull it down to the unspeakable depths of the unnamable – as the band states. The constant level of dissonant sound, ever-over-present drum work, and screams around every corner just let you fear that bright rectangle that should be the door to salvation. Because you don’t know if it is really the door or something else?
Now, as a Black Metal production goes, the mixing and mastering are pretty well done. I would have liked the drums to be less present. And get a keener edge to the guitar work. But overall? Not bad, and there are no important elements really lost. It is the repetitive – almost hypnotic – nature of κρέων (Creon) that pulls the quality of the record down. Plus the fact that they splatter their tune in front of you like a jar filled with blood. Thrown straight into your face. By contrast, other gigs serve such platters of gory elements much more skillfully.
If I were to name favorite tracks, I’d pick out Αἵμων (Haemon) first – track # 3. And as a close second the last serving Εὐρυδίκη (Eurydice). This last one for parts of this mighty piece of work only, though. Track no 3, however, contains a lot of good elements, not present in the rest of this ocean of metal sludge. If only they would have gotten us more of that, the record would rank better.
One thing is for sure. Rorcal distinguish themselves from other bands in this universe. With their brand of almost doomy and sludge-infused Black Metal. On top, they project a fitting reproduction to the overall doom-laden atmosphere of this age-old play called Antigone.
κρέων (Creon) is not for the faint at heart. So again, if you prefer lighter versions of metal, do not even open that door. Black and Extreme Metal adepts, however, should consume without moderation. But can you face the roaring silence once the record has finished assaulting you? That is the question.