Genre: Black Metal
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
The time has come to formally register the term “ early 90’s Greek black metal revival/nostalgia”. While in the 00’s the Greek scene had cast aside its primordial 90’s sound, during the last few years there has been an increase to the Storm/Molon Lave Studios-sound worshiping releases, but thankfully not in an overwhelming number. Ithaqua is a duo band, formed by members of Caedes Cruenta. On first glimpse of the old-fashioned and crude cover art of the “Initiation to Obscure Mysteries” demo and the band’s photo, one can surmise the sonic rails upon which rides the group’s music. Furthermore, after the intro’s 3 minutes, full of clumsy English recitations of anathemas and barbaric names, you find yourself pondering about this lost sibling of “Thy Mighty Contract”.
A tense, flamboyant bass guitar, which keeps lashing out autonomously. Vocals full of the early 90’s unpolished spirit, which reminded me of Gothmog’s demoniacal quality, but also paying homage to Sakis’ “Non Serviam” era outbursts. Mostly mid-tempo guitars, full of melody, and riotous, bombastic drums. The “grainy” mixing is reminiscent of the times when the Greek scene was overflowing with dark majesty. There are also discreet keyboards scattered around the recording, as well as flute parts in “Abyssic Journey to the Elder Demons”, while the last track, “Beyond the Cursed Lines”, is pure Necromantia worship, in its acoustic and purely bass guitar character, thriving on atmospheric whispers.
To be honest, “Initiation to Obscure Mysteries” is not teeming with originality. While listening to it, lots of 90’s tracks popped in my mind, especially Rotting Christ ones. RC’s influence is obvious, a fact not to be denied by the band. Still, the cassette’s 30 minutes are quite engaging, since on the composition department, the band is not lacking. While not up to par with last year’s Empire of the Moon debut’s rites, or Katavasia’s “Sacrilegious Testament” grandiose marching, “Initiation to Obscure Mysteries” is a solid release, especially considering it’s the band’s first demo.