There’s more to the Greek extreme metal scene than simply Rotting Christ and Septicflesh. Yet what lies behind the struggle of attaining the same success as those groups is probably an evident lack of originality, something which Acherontas thankfully don’t suffer from. 2015 sees this particular band release their fifth album, entitled ambitiously “Ma IoN (Formulas of Reptilian Unification”, a seventy-minute long work which seeks to astound and impress but doesn’t quite hit that level of consistency in the long run. Whilst this theme isn’t worlds apart from the Greek extreme metal scene in general, Acherontas manage to stand out from the crowd with a certain twist in the musical formula.
“Ma IoN…” is a real mixed bag, unfortunately. At least half of the songs here exceed the seven-minute barrier, and the other half are simply left to meander aimlessly through atmospheric flourishes and non-chalant harmonic vocal effects, but collaboratively it all seems to work in the end. Whilst at the basis of this sound lies a traditional, if slightly mesmeric, take on black metal, the surrounding sonic elements fulfil the band’s up-to-date career legacy. The main pattern here revolves around one shorter interlude being followed by an opus of a song almost three times the length you would expect. And just when you think that the likes of the title track or the 11-minute long ‘Lunar Transcendence and the Secret Kiss of Nut’ are going to be deep, exploratory surges through progressive and experimental sides of the metal universe, it simply turns into one long swirling mass of fairly straightforward black metal. This isn’t to say that the band don’t often exceed their own expectations-indeed, the likes of ‘The Awakening of Astral Orphic Mysteries/Behind the Eyes of Irida’ are something special in their own way-but the overall impression one gets is that Acherontas’ latest effort is really just a ridiculously extended version of what outsiders of the sub-genre would expect.
The main problem which lies within “Ma IoN…” however is most of the interludes. They aren’t one or two minutes in length, but on average closer to four or five. And without these rather unnecessary interludes, the whole album probably wouldn’t even exceed fifty minutes, and in the long run would have a better lasting effect on the listener. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and those who are looking for something more immediate will be put off instantly. The near eight-minute instrumental ‘Shaman and the Waning Moon’, which revels in atmospheric sounds meandering through cloudy percussion, almost seems like a waste. Every time you think that the band will explode into another razor-sharp selection of extreme metal riffs, the disappointment reveals itself and before you know it, the song has ended in a somewhat forgettable manner. This same flaw largely affects ‘Convolut…’ and ‘Copper Arcana’ but worse still the album closer ‘Orgiastic Feast of Flesh, Beheld Thine Vicissitude’ as pointless instrumentation just doesn’t go anywhere. This lack of true direction is where Acherontas’ latest effort suffers, and it really drags the excellence of those longer, more adventurous tracks down considerably.
That said, it’s still quite an ambitious work if you take the time to understand the concept which lies behind the music. The problem is that inconsistency is here in spades, due to those rather unnecessary interludes weaving in and out of a more solid side to the album’s progress. Nonetheless, if you can forget those interludes and concentrate on the meat of “Ma IoN…”, you will be treated to an onslaught of menacing black metal spat forth into a menacing concept.
1. Fires of Prometheus
2. Nereid Tide of Neptune’s Rudra
3. Convolut-Ion, Manifestat-Ion, Secret-Ion, Karma-Lravati the Thunders Emerged
4. Ma-IoN (Formulas of Reptilian Unification)
5. Permutation in the Aetheric Void (Ma-IoN, Sacred Seal)
6. Shaman and the Waning Moon
7. Lunar Transcendence and the Secret Kiss of Nut
8. The Awakening of Astral Orphic Mysteries-Behind the Eyes of Irida
9. Copper Arcana
10. Therionic Transformation
11. Orgiastic Feast of Flesh, Beheld Thine Vicissitude
Bandpage/Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Acherontas/144671698890576
Released: February 27th