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Acherontas: Ma Ion (Formulas of Reptilian Unification)
With the internet and global modernization in full effect, music and ideas can be shared with the push of a button. While this has meant that more and more people can experience new music, ideas, and culture more readily, an overall dilution of purity could be said to have permeated the world of heavy metal. Ideas and scenes no longer stand alone the way they once did, and technology, in its infinite ability to bring people information, can also burst the bubble of mysticism so essential to certain forms of artistic expression. That being said, there is one part of the world whose underground scene has resisted most of these trends, and that is Greece. When the most commercially recognizable underground bands coming out of a country are called Septicflesh and Rotting Christ, one can only imagine what the lesser known bands in the area are all about. One of those groups, the mysterious Acherontas, are a modern day act with a throwback approach, and earlier this year they released their fourth full-length album, the cryptically entitled Ma-Ion (Formulas of Reptilian Unification).
Eponymously named for a region of Greece near the river Acheron (it doesn't get more metal than that), the members of Acherontas march to an esoteric beat all their own. If you're familiar with the philosophical leanings of a band like Absu, you will have some idea of what's in store for you with Acherontas. Eastern occult practices, Maha Kali, Tiamat, and the ancient ruminations of the pre-Christian world emanate from the pores of this ultra-serious faction of devotees. But anyone can scream into a microphone about ancient gods. When Acherontas V. Priest is in command of the vocal attack, the result is otherworldly.
After an ambient opening piece, 'Nereid Tide of Neptune's Rudra' begins with the creeping pace of Ceremony era Samael, done up in shamanic trappings and featuring clean vocal accompaniment as well as a furious midsection of blast beats and swirling guitar leads. Next is another ambient piece whose effect is both mystical and a little frightening. A ghostly flute and a droning voice is pierced by what sounds like something from beyond sharpening a blade. The title track begins with a martial introduction of rolling drums and double bass attack. The song is solemn in its delivery, with a magnificent performance behind the kit for percussionist Thorns. Vocally similar to Alastis, Samael, and early Gehenna, it is a true black metal expression of all that is lurking in this genre. Ritual prayer over the speed metal fury has stunning effect. Produced in 2014, this album could easily have come straight out of 1993. Acherontas sound exactly like their no-nonsense intent would indicate.
The album is broken up by ambient pieces in plenty, so for best results one should listen all the way through. 'Lunar Transcendence & The Secret Kiss of Nut' continues the rabid pace of furious old school black metal, like a storm breaking after a period of false calm. With a keen ear for dynamics, Acherontas don't let the blasts blast too long, nor are the breakdowns placed too frequently. A strict balance is kept, yet one cannot possibly be bored. V. Priest's vocals are too compelling. The instruments are clearly heard, with the bass guitar as clear as the lead and rhythm. Their old school approach gives the impression that they simply plugged in and played, for that is how natural the album sounds. And yet, by all accounts a heap of time and (dark) energy was put into the recording of Ma-Ion (Formulas of Reptilian Unification).
'The Awakening of Astral Orphic Mysteries – Behind the Eyes of Irida' sprawls out of nothingness with over two minutes of ambience. Clear spoken intonations weave spells above a blast beat and epic guitar phrasing. After the tension-building instrumental 'Copper Arcana,' Acherontas launch into a 'Therionic Transformation.' Here there is more chanting, this time over a very Samael-like bass guitar and drum triplet. The tension breaks and the song blasts away into nether regions of hell. One can feel a lot of emotion in this song, both triumphant and ecstatic. The spell is culminating, and this song is a perfect manifestation of the feeling behind the album. A beautiful guitar lead at the 2:20 mark is wonderfully articulated, truly bringing light to the overall darkness the band has thus far weaved. V. Priest's venomous, spiteful vocals come in soon after, reminding us of the dark paths the album promises.
When the last ambience fades, it is clear that Acherontas has cast wondrous magic onto plastic with their latest slab. Their convictions help solidify a highly commendable, very solid effort. Devotees of the dark arts would be foolish to let this album slip past unnoticed.
1.Fires Of Prometheus 03:08
Nereid Tide Of Neptune´s Rudra 05:02
Convolut-ion, Manifestat-ion, Secret-ion, Karma-lravatl The Thunders Emerged 01:35
Ma-Ion ´Formulas Of Reptilian Unification´ 09:34
Permutation In The Aetheric Void (Ma-Ion Sacred Seal) 03:33
Shaman And The Waning Moon 07:46
Lunar Transcendence & The Secret Kiss Of Nut 10:57
The Awakening Of Astral Orphic Mysteries - Behind The Eyes Of Irida 10:56
Copper Arcana 05:18
Therionic Transformation 08:17
Orgiastic Feast Of Flesh, Beheld Thine Vicissitude 04:02
Added: May 6th 2015
Reviewer: Nicholas Franco
Related Link: Acherontas Facebook Page
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