Welcome back, faithful followers. This week we have lined up for you two things that I have taken chances on: an album that I had anticipated to be one of my favorites of the year and a new drink that I bought on a whim. How well do these hold up together? Let’s find out. The Metal: The Great Old Ones’ EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy. The Booze: 101 Cider House’s Cactus Red.
The Metal: The Great Old Ones’ EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy
Extreme metal and the works of H.P. Lovecraft have always been close bedfellows. Music as intense as metal often is the perfect foil for the otherworldly horror and tension found in many classics by this much revered author, and since 2009 no band has been capturing those themes better than France’s The Great Old Ones. Both their debut Al Azif and 2014’s Tekeli-li are memorable works of atmospheric black metal that are some of my go-to albums for when I am in the mood for the style, so it should come as no surprise that EOD was an album that I named one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. From the minute I heard the initial single “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” I knew this album was going to be something special, and I’m glad to say that after hearing EOD in it’s entirety, I stand by that statement. This feels like a much more focused effort over all than previous albums; the same sprawling, triple-guitar induced atmosphere is still present but the aggression has been kicked up to another level, making for a much more cutting and fear-inducing experience. This is one of the few Lovecraft-inspired albums where the fear of an otherworldly presence is almost palpable, and in this way The Great Old Ones have succeeded where many other bands that try to play off Lovecraftian themes fail. EOD is a work that swallows you entirely in its atmosphere and narrative and doesn’t let go.
The Booze: 101 Cider House’s Cactus Red
I will admit that ciders are not my go to drink, and I tend to be picky about my choices, but when I find the right one there is almost nothing more refreshing. Enter 101 Cider House’s Cactus Red, an apple cider flavored with cactus pear fruit and Thai basil. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it was something I could not pass up, and as it turns out this is far and away the best cider I have ever had. It hits every note that I could want in this particular drink; a crisp, dry body with more than sufficient tartness and that little extra unexpected oddness of the Thai basil; at nearly 7% ABV it’s got a much nicer kick than your average cider as well. The initial sip, particularly as it warms, has a nice herbaceous nose from the basil that reminds me of a good bowl of phở, as odd as it sounds. The cactus pear provides a welcome tartness that the basil and apples round out smoothly on the finish. And as the icing on the cake, Cactus Red is the most gorgeous, grapefruit pink color. I’m glad I took a chance on this, because it’s one that I will keep in heavy rotation from now on.
I do so love when a plan comes together. In this case both the album and drink I was hoping would be worth their purchase price exceeded my expectations. I would once again recommend you all reading this to take a chance on something similar that catches your eye; you never know where your next favorite will come from.
Cheers, and be good to each other,