Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Black Metal History Month- Acherontas :"Ma Ion (Formulas of Reptilian Unification"

While I like sonically heavy black metal , sometimes it's just fun to get back to big epic unapologetically metal black metal as well. I am still a big Dimmu Borgir fan even though they are symphonic metal now. So it's cool to hear a band that carries a torch burning somewhere between Dimmu and Emperor. After a weird folkish intro they chug into things with a massive Immortalized riff. These guys collectively have a pretty epic past the members have played in Nightbringer, Enthroned, Melencolia Estatica, Dodsferd and Ancient. Though what this also more than likely means is that if your name is Acherontas V.Priest and you play in a band called Acherontas  which only founding member of, then every one else is a hired guns. The plus and minus of that equation would be hired guns are total pros and some of the best at what they do if they are in high demand  the minus being even the fastest black metal mercenaries won't help you if not allowed creative input, so if they are just clocking into work and one person is writing all of the songs things can get myopic.

There is a lot of reference to ions, obviously the title track being one of these . It also leans towards a more Behemoth like sound. The dry rasp of the mid range growls being one factor. The blasts are relentless when they kick in but sit against a heavily layered arrangement. The guitars sweep in with more of an Emperor like elegance to them. When the band locks into some of the chugs that precede the very melodic solo passages it can be more powerful than when they are just firing off blast beats into this richly chaotic tapestry. Spoken word section recite incantations with all the drama of a book on tape.Though sometimes the more spoken growly vocals sound like Erik of Watain.To their credit in the nine minute epic that is the title track they do hit on several sections that are powerfully melodic, almost to the point of having a Maiden like aspect in the guitars.

Every other song seems to be some sort of experimental interlude with creepy world music elements. This makes "Shaman and the Waning Moon" the third song and he sixth as the album jacket might lead you to believe. So this could turn into an ep , that is filled out by tribal ritual music. It takes two minutes to get to the guitar that trickles in like old Pink Floyd.But alas they just jam around in Negura Bunget's , so no metal surfaces until "Lunar Transcendence and the Secret Kiss of Nut".The riffs to this one carry a storming the gates kind of majesty to them. At the three minute mark this breaks down into some chanting. It starts sounding like Psychic Tv during some of the primitive ritual music. When it goes back into metal part it's slowed down and they are talking about dragons so there is a Watain thing happening again.Some of the blasting begins to numb you out and become a blur even with the melodies layered atop it. They make up for this by summoning some pretty cool space noise in the songs final minutes.

They go grandiose with the 11 minute " The Awakening of the Astral Orphic Mysteries". It's a sprawling assemblage of well played riffery that i enjoy upon hearing it , but isn't particularly memorable. The strum of the clean guitar in "Copper Arcana" does a much better job of standing out in my mind. The dissonant chords of "Therionic Transformation" when combined with the viking like chant work perfectly with one another. The clean vocals on this album are one of it's strong points. They are used sparingly, in more of a Negura Bunget capacity. This pretty much ends the album as there is a another track of supposedly esoteric noise, but that's it for the metal. This is almost an ep if you took away all the interludes. It sounds good and well preformed , a few ideas grabbed me here and there, but nothing I have to have. I'll give it a 7.5.

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