“Apocryphe” is the second album from French two man Black Metal band Loth. The band began as a bedroom project between friends and grew in momentum and scope. They play traditional Atmospheric Black Metal and their second release finds them expanding in scope and dynamics.
The album begins with a somber rendition of the 14th century French song “Douce Dame Jolie”, an increasingly feverish tale of obsessive unrequited love that builds in its composer’s torment. The subject matter as well as its significance in musical history makes it a beautifully melancholic introduction. We often see bands giving nods to their influences and precursors but how many of them go back 600 years?
From there the album blasts into familiar Black Metal territory delivering brutal but symphonic melodies and heartfelt screams. The second track, “Mourir a Metz” is a 14 minute epic filled with everything you’d want in a Black Metal song. After the up tempo opening it takes several breaths along the way including an extended acoustic break in the middle complete with background thunderstorm. The combination of guitar passage and the rumblings create a tension that highlights the beauty and purpose of both. The second half of the song finds Loth creating some of their most beautiful passages as well as hitting their best foot tapping grooves all within a span of minutes.
The album loses some of its momentum in the middle with the track “Malmoth” which lacks the variety and dynamics its predecessor but the album closer and title track “Apocryphe” finds the band back in top form. While it is the shortest of the three original tracks, “Apocryphe” feels the most meditative. It takes its time to unfold and repeats its musical theme in a soothing and thoughtful manner with small variations along the way. The album ends with a lone melancholy flute and a return to the medieval style music that shares Loth’s emotional palette.
Apocryphe doesn’t break new ground but it is an honest and heartfelt album that shows depth and evolution for a band that started more or less as a hobby. I look forward to seeing what promises their future endeavors fulfill.
- Douce Dame Jolie
- Mourir a Metz