French experimentalists Aluk Tolodo dropped their latest release, ‘Voix’, in February this year on Norma Evangelium Diaboli in Europe, and it is one of those albums that explores metal as a concept of sound. Fully instrumental, enigmatic song titles merely telling you their length: it comes across immediately that this isn’t going to be an instant fix.
The opener ‘8:18’ is an urgent piece of almost post rock, with a menacing undertone to it. It is building to something, something you can never quite reach, with insistent melodies reaching, grasping upward. The second part shimmers with a glacial, black metal tremolo riff before descending into a rumbling, tribal place. ‘Voix’ (ironically French for voices) is a flowing piece, split into six tracks but essentially one long 43 minute track. This helps the music a lot because it feels like one long journey.
It is a trance inducing experience, each listen revealing new sounds, notes, tones behind the octopian drumming performance and malevolent drone. There are quieter moments (two minutes into ‘7:01’), moments of obtuse noise intervals, and no small amount of progressive, psychedelic influence. ‘Voix’ is a record that would be ruined with vocals, as the purely instrumental methods allows you to embrace every sound, every texture. Aluk Tolodo have created a piece of musical art here; difficult to process at first but infinitely rewarding with patience.