After nearly half a decade between releases, British Columbian veterans Auroch return with the mLP “Stolen Angelic Tongues”, originally intended as a split with Ævangelist that now stands alone. The band describes the release as being a conceptual one, which “draws upon the magical and spiritual traditions of South America and the Caribbean as their histories, past and present, represent a microcosm of the great spiritual rebellion that has been the band’s inspiration throughout its singular discography.”
Auroch display a sinister and organic style of blackened Death Metal that musically references both their older material, but also presents an eye to the present and the future. Through just under twenty minutes of music, the band is able to capture a variety of moods and atmospheres that don’t feel haphazardly slapped together, but rather develop smoothly and with a subtle logic amidst what is assuredly a dense and highly discordant sound that newer extreme metal listeners may struggle to decipher. This is achieved with a nuanced, dynamic songwriting technique fitting for a band with the longevity and experience of Auroch.
The band play with an interesting mix of racing technicality balanced with more measured atmospheric phrasings. Tempos change over maze-like structures with an appropriate sense of space and pacing. Particular attention is paid to the rhythmic cadence of the vocals over the band’s raging instruments – timed with and arranged against them – performed largely as a sneering howl that vaguely humanizes the music, but only somewhat. Reverb that coats – yet doesn’t overwhelm – vocals which are often multi-tracked by the different band members creates the effect of warriors shouting over a blazing forge in a hall of curling smoke. A pair of brooding instrumental tracks begins and concludes the release.
The lyrics, rooted in the spiritualism of the New World, display a contempt for colonialist religions so naked as to be polarizing. At times, the music’s speed is such that they are difficult to make out even while reading them simultaneously. Narrative is expressed more through symbolism than the rhythmic cadence of the words themselves. Malign webs of oddly consonant melody shine through the chaos at times, allowing the band to achieve a sound both infernal and mystical at once – flickering and shifting like the light of fire against a mirror’s edge.
“Stolen Angelic Tongues” is an altogether tightly designed and executed recording. It seems obvious that here Auroch have directed intent focus on unifying their artistic, lyrical, and musical concepts into a single potent force. This intricacy of design is rare in the modern scene, and the competence and strength with which Auroch deliver it is truly impressive – a tangible musical statement in what has been a year in which Death Metal has flourished despite the odds. (Tormentor)