Label: Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions
Occitania is probably not a place you will easily find on maps, as it borders are not clearly defined and the language is not written down. Yet a vast amount of people in the south of France speak it. This is the place where Aorlhac hails from and their ‘L’esprit des Vents’ is a telling from their origins.
The band derives their name from Aurillac, home to the group. Members are also active in An Norvys, and three of them played together in Towersound before. Drummer Ardraos is more well-known thanks to his participation in Peste Noir. This record counts as number three for the band in a trilogy dealing with their ancient homeland.
Soundwise, the group compares to the like of Windir and Taake, thanks to that epic, yet aggressive sound they embody. The opening riff of ‘Alderica’ immediately grabs you, with howling vocals and blistering beats and rhythms. The music surges, like the Mistral wind, filled with atmosphere and riffs that evoke medieval images. At times we even hear the effects of hurdy-gurdy like music, for example on ‘Infâme Saurimonde’, which has some noteworthy breaks in the sound.
I have to say, listening to the urgency and grand passages in their sound, Aorlhac strikes me as a band that could be so much bigger. Musically, they grab attention with catchy, driven songs. The vocals are rough but very audible and open for singing along, much akin to the Ensiferium’s of this world. Melodic, yet never cheesy, this historically themed record with hellishly good tunes, like ‘Ode à la Croix Cléchée’ and ‘Une Vie de Reclus’, stands strong from start to finish.
The songs form raised fists to the temporal forces, that have made the world so much smaller. They are raised in defiance of nature, history and the melting pot of cultures, harking back to an age before, to an age of heroes and pride. That makes for one hell of a record.