This makes the third time we’ve done a premiere for the Israeli black metal band Arallu. The first time was about six weeks before the release of their 2017 album Six. The next time, roughly two years later, it was a song from their most recent full-length, En Olam. And today it’s a video for a song that’s… more than 20 years old!
It was 1999 when Arallu released their debut album, The War on the Wailing Wall, following an initial 1997 demo with the same title. In the decades that have followed that release, the band’s music evolved in dramatic ways. As we wrote about their most recent record, “the songs capture archetypes of violence and bloodshed, defiance of orthodoxy and devilish supremacy, but they also become spells,” and, as they had done before, the band augmented the metal “with the tones of ancient instruments, among them Saz, Oud, Kanoon, and Drabukka”, which were used to enhance the strong influence of Middle Eastern melodies.
Turning back the clock to the 1999 debut album, you can perceive the seeds that would grow into what the band has become today. But apart from the historical significance of the record, it turns out to have withstood the test of time very well. And so it’s not surprising that, at last, the album is being reissued on vinyl for the first time, complete with new vinyl mastering by Patrick W. Engel at “Temple of Disharmony”. And it’s one of those 1999 tracks that we’re bringing you today, accompanied by video of Arallu, as they are today, performing the song.
In its music, The War on the Wailing Wall doesn’t reveal the band’s geographic roots nearly to the extent that their more recent albums do, though it is capable of spawning visions of desert djinns whirling like dervishes and whipping up tornadoes of flame in the midst of scathing sandstorms. Certainly, in that way, the band proved from an early age that their taste in black metal leaned toward the warlike and the savage.
The video we’re presenting today is for a song that exemplifies those tendencies, but it’s also one of the more dynamic tracks on the album. With “Morbid Shadows” the band launch an assault of hammering blast-beats, vividly thrumming bass, and wild, exhilarating tremolo’driffing, joined by equally wild but viciously scorching vocals. The music generates a feeling of super-heated, exultant mayhem, but then it begins to change.
The song segues into a sequence of jolting chords over hyper-bursting kick drums, and then a further sequence of feverish, insectile fretwork undergirded by lurching snare beats and segmented by big bass booms and a kind of jerky, yet imperious march. It’s an unnerving but head-moving sensation, and an interesting digression. Ever-possessed, the incendiary, larynx-lacerating howls then lead the band back into a final paroxysm of ecstatic violence.
The vinyl edition of The War on the Wailing Wall will be released on October 22nd by the Austrian label Essential Purification Records. It’s a 180-gram, flame-colored vinyl edition with a 350gsm cover and a flood print inside. (The album will not be digitally released.)
Credit for all the footage in the video goes to Dani Altermatt. For orders and apparel bundles, check the links below.
And finally, we’ve decided to include an official video of the band performing the title track to their newest album En Olam, which was released last September by Satanath Records (Russia) and Exhumed Records (Ecuador).