In 2018, I had the distinct pleasure of introducing you to the atmospheric, folk-tinged black metal of Allelic, a one man project out of Canada, and his album, The Smoke of Atavistic Fires. I loved Allelic’s music for its ferocity and impact, mixed with folk compositions that were anything but throwaways. Ever since then, I have been playing Atavistic Fires when I needed to be transported somewhere else, thrust into a fully realized and lush world. Fortunately, Allelic has reached out to me once again with a wonderful announcement: a new album, titled À Contre Vent (“Against the Wind”) is set to be released on April 24th, once again through the underrated The Green Man Label. Not only that, but I once again get the chance to premiere music from the album! I’m a happy man. Scroll down below to stream “Des âmes tissées sur Terre” and get your black metal on.
Oh boy, those drums! “Des âmes tissées sur Terre” opens with an absolute broadside of blistering drums, before launching into the kind of melodic, fast-moving, and rich black metal composition that I fell in love with Allelic for. I just adore how the guitars convey that overwhelming black metal tone while still keeping things complex and, of course, while introducing plenty of folk music ideas into the mix. Naturally for Allelic, these folk ideas also get their own passage, multiple ones in fact, across this twelve minute long epic. As before, they are extremely well written, much more than just interludes or afterthoughts, but rather fully fleshed out aspects of the music itself. The passage around the three and a half minute mark, evocative in its many guitars, should set your heart to singing, perfectly setting things up for the return of the heavier side of things with its grandiose guitar lines.
But if that passage makes you think that you’ve got the Allelic formula down, that, like many black metal bands, Allelic only draws from one kind of folk music, you’ve gotten another thing coming to you. Around the six and a half minute mark, another folk passage starts off but this one sounds very different. Drawing on a different tradition, one that feels “deeper” or more morose than the previous one displayed, Allelic launches into a harmonica filled, almost chant-like folk passage. It’s fresh, reminding us a bit of how fellow Canadians Thrawsunblat approach folk in their black metal. Of course, the heavier sounds return after this passage but they are also transformed by it, now more cavernous and daunting. Everything comes to a head in the outro, guiding the different influences on the track home.
The end result is a track, and an album, that’s always keeping you on your feet. There’s way more than just one type of folk here and there’s way more than just one type of black metal and the result is rich and glorious. Throw in excellent vocals, flutes, and enthralling repetitions and leitmotifs, and you have everything you need. The rest of the album is just as good, continuing Allelic’s exploration of expansive, complex compositions and track structures. Make sure you head on to his Bandcamp page to watch out for a pre-order or scout out the label’s page for the same.