Ten years ago the French one-man black metal project Telümehtår made its debut with a self-recorded and self-released demo named Blåck. Now, a decade later, Telümehtår has re-surfaced with a new album entitled The Well, which is set for release on February 16th. Today we present a full stream of its nine tracks, preceded by the following impressions.
Drawing inspiration from the spirit of such early black metal bands as Emperor, Darkthrone, and Ulver, but without slavishly aping them, Lord Telümehtår has created an extravagant, blazing tumult of moodiness and despair, creating the sounds of terrible madness born of pain, yet glorious in their devastation. In one sense, the songs are minimalist in their composition, yet they are wholly engulfing both in their sound and in their emotional impact, creating an air of scarring pageantry, like the surround-sound scores to mythic sagas of impassioned striving and inevitable, calamitous tragedy.
“Minimalist” may be a misleading word to use, because the music is so emotionally intense and the sound so deeply saturates the senses. It’s minimalist only in the sense that the ingredients (each of which is vital to Lord Telümehtår‘s strategy) can be readily identified, and they recur throughout all the tracks except one.
Those common ingredients consist of maniacally blasting drums (performed by Nemri), fervently pulsating bass, ravaging vocals expressed as wrenching cries and shattering shrieks, raw reverberating riffs that cycle through the songs in a steady repetition, shrill and feverish leads that pierce the storms of sound like manifestations of delirious agony (and are also used to create penetrating harmonies), and subtle synth layers that give the music an epic sheen.
There’s an overarching depressive cast to the songs, but the pacing is nevertheless relentlessly explosive, and the melodies are immediately memorable and seep deeper and deeper into the mind as they loop through each track. There are also subtle changes in mood among the songs (and within them), even though each track is an almost unrelenting surge, anchored by repetition, and rooted in bitter soil.
Some songs (such as the opening two tracks and “The Well”) are bonfires of tumultuous intensity whose melodies seem to spear into the heavens or spiral upward like a mad dance in the air. Others (such as “The Grey Wolf”) are more despairing and vicious — more dire and dangerous — transmitting sensations of angst and desperation whipped in their intensity to the point of self-immolation. Still others (such as “The Sailing of Life”) have a more overtly sweeping and panoramic quality that seems like the stuff of yearning dreams, with a grasping yet glorious quality that makes you feel as if you’ve been lifted off your feet and taken wing in a savage, heedless flight.
“Death” includes a more rocking and thrusting momentum intertwined with the hell-for-leather blasting, but it’s no less dark than anything else, while “Fortress” creates perhaps the strongest mythic atmosphere, with a skirling melody that seems heroic in its aura, though still edged with a sense of impending downfall and heartbreak.
The one exception to the general blueprint of these songs is “Perpetual Hopes In Eternal Despair”, positioned near the middle of the album — though it’s by no means an intermission. With no drums and no voice, it’s a repeating sequence of sounds — a riff that channels the anguished panic attack of hopes being dashed, over and over again; a deep bass hum; a pulsing electronic tone that also seems to slowly moan. The repetition of these patterns becomes hypnotic, despite how disturbing the music is. The effect doesn’t last long, however, because in the follow-on title track, the album immediately throws the listener back into another conflagration of sound.
You’ll get a solid idea of what the album holds in store after listening to the opening track, “Birth By Kaos” (which is electrifying), though not a complete picture. It’s safe to say that if you fall into the clutches of that song, you’re going to be gripped by all the others, which have enough variations in mood (and an abundance of melodic hooks) to keep a listener hanging on, despite the overarching bleak and blazing intensity.
The Well was recorded by Simon Gervais at FullB1 Studios in Rouen (except drums, which were recorded in Rouen by Julien Bous at PostGhost Recordings Studio). The record was mixed and mastered by Déhà at Forbidden Frequencies Studio in Bruxelles, and the pictures and artwork are by B. RedCatCity, with logo design by Samuel Antonin.
The album will be released by La Harelle and by Hidden Marly Productions / Zero Dimensional Records (Osaka, Japan).