Aorlhac have recently released their third album, (and closing part of a trilogy), L’esprit des Vents. This is an epic and melodic album that takes the fire of the black metal second wave and fuses it into passionate, atmospheric music that still retains plenty of aggressive bite. It’s a very strong release, and one that I readily recommend you check out.
I was privileged enough to be able to ask the band’s vocalist Spellbound some questions about the album and the band, so have a read of the below and give the album a listen…
Introduce us to Aorlhac – how did the band form?
Aorlhac was born around 2008 by NKS and Ash (former bass player), I joined the project as a singer a bit later. We had the desire and the will to produce a musical and conceptual personal project. We focused on tales and histories from our lands, but also from the Occitan region, using a black metal as personal as possible.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
I currently listen to Lutomysl, Slumber, Krater, Eskapi and Blodskut.
How did you get signed to Les Acteurs de L’ombre, and what’s it like working with them?
Gérald, the label manager, had an eye on us for quite some time, and when he offered us a deal, right when we were recording “L’esprit des vents”, we couldn’t refuse it. It’s been also 8 years since we disappeared, we had to work with a well-establish label which could offer us a great exposure and a real support. That’s another step for Aorlhac, in every way. Our work with the label is based on trust and communication; it’s a great team where everyone has its own job. It’s much easier for our band, everything is well-organised and professional. The release of our album is a great adventure, and we are happy to life it with a label such as LADLO.
How do you rate the French black metal scene at the moment?
I am not really fond of the French BM scene, I’m more into the Scandinavian music, as Ofdrykkja, Lifelover, Apati, Lepra, Eskapi, Vanhelga…The last thing I listened to lately was The Skaden, the project of the deceased Stefan Kozak.
Tell us a bit about L’esprit des Vents
L’esprit des Vents ends our trilogy, started with A La Croisée des Vents, followed by La Cité des Vents. It is a continuity, a proud look to the past but also an evolution, a break with what has been previously done with the two first albums. It was a long, sometimes painful, process, but we are proud that we finished it. The themes are once again connected with secular tales from our countries, historic facts about warriors, rebel and belligerent figures that marked our lands. It is a logical end to the trilogy and the challenges we forced yourselves to face.
As part of a trilogy, how would you say this latest album compares to your previous work?
I would say that this is clearly the most accomplished part of the trilogy, in terms of technicality, maturity, composition, sound, general intention…We kept the connection with the two previous opus in terms of themes, and we did not radically change our way to take on the music, but on some aspects we did evolve, especially by adding guitar soli parts, Ardraos’ drum play also brought a lot to the rhythm section.
Why did you end up having such a large gap between your second and third releases?
The reasons are more or less quite classical: sometimes it was the geographic distance, the changes in our personal life…It took NKS to build his own studio to start back composing, to find a drummer, to focus on the lyrics and subjects to develop…Now that we are free from some obligations, we aim to reduce this period of time for our next misdeed.
If you had to convince someone to give L’esprit des Vents a listen, how would you describe the music?
I would say that it is a sincere music, born from our personal desire to give the life back to confidential files from our native lands. A music focused on the melodies in contrast with the violence brought by the vocals and guitar parts.
How were the songs written?
Every single track has been recorded at Aurillac, in NKS’ studio. Only the vocals were recorded somewhere else (but still in the Cantal region), generally speaking, I prefer taking care of this process by myself, without any external interference: we are working like this since the first album, and we will continue this way, even if nothing is set in stone.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
It is difficult to answer this question, for me each songs has its own place – I sometime read that the album is a bit too long; maybe I have not the needed hindsight. Then, I have some difficulties to extract one particular track, let’s say if I really do have to pick one it will be “La Révolte des Tuchins”, for its intense impact and its guitar solo parts, or a track as “Infâme Saurimonde” that is quite strong, personal, and profound for me.
Tell us about the album artwork
The artwork is made by Stan W.D., from Auvergne, NKS was in contact with him, so that was a logical choice in some way. We just gave him a few elements as bases, he was free to do whatever he wanted from that. We are pleased with its work.
Do you think album artwork is still important in today’s increasingly digital age?
I guess the biggest part of fans still continue to buy physical media – but of course, as for the labels than the bands, we’ve got to do with the digital age, we have no other choice. We have to adapt, even if the music is illegally available through download, it also works as a great and cheap promotional tool – we’ve got the two sides of the coin. People who loved the album will surely buy it to enjoy the “physical” aspect of it, so in the end, the impact and work on the artwork is still important. I also think that metal is a scene where people are attached to the physical aspect of an album. We have a few people that contact us saying that they bought the album without having even listen to one track, just because the loved the visual.
What does the future hold for Aorlhac?
Now that the trilogy is over, we can be focus on the upcoming discography with new objectives and different specifications. We will also be on the road some times, and we are looking from new serious proposition for gigs. The label is giving us another exposure, more visibility – we hope we will continue to grow and spread our heritage and histories of our lands much more through our song in the upcoming months and years.
Any final words?
Thanks for the interview, feel free to follow our Facebook page or go on the label’s website to get updates about us.