Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: U.K.
Label: Cruz Del Sur
Year: 2020

The four way split, “Iron and Hell Vol. I”, featuring songs from Chevalier / Iron Griffin / Atom Smasher / Phaëthon, turned out to be a great investment, not due to its extravaganza resale price after 5 or 10 year, like many use to do on similar releases, but due to its music excellence. It also reminds me of the London based, named after Greek mythology, Helios’ (Sun in Greek) bastard son, Phaethon. Their debut ep came out in November 2020 in mp3 and I had it on the “albums for review and more” file on my desktop. Unfortunately somewhere between tons of albums, books, extra work and a daughter to raise in a middle of the lockdown, I never actually got to hear it properly. Now that I heard it over and over again I must confess that I should double check my music priorities. Before I comment on music, I have to mention a couple of things about their name and its mythological origin. Back to music, if you love Heavy Metal, and you‘re influenced by Pagan Altar, Manila Road, and/or Bathory, then “Sacrifice Doth Call” is your album in all its epicenes. In its 5 songs Phaethon’s mastermind vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Vrath (bassist Aees, with drummer Herr Berthelsen completing the lineup), managed to pack their ideas and envision next 20 years. Actually, coronavirus lockdown isolated him and as he had no more excuses and plenty of time he started the band that he always had in the back of his head. Really nice effort with a plethora of NWOBHM riffs, blended with obscure elements. Cirith Ungol meets Satan, and Pagan Altar meets Judas Priest. Brilliant compositions, clean production, galloping rhythm, and marvelous epic atmosphere in a well hidden gem, given that Gates of Hell and Cruz del Sur were cut in cd and vinyl, no one is excused not checking it immediately.

Phaethon was a youthful son of Helios who begged his father to let him drive the chariot of the sun. The god reluctantly conceded to boy’s wishes and handed him the reigns. But his inexperience proved fatal for Phaethon, who quickly lost control of the immortal steeds and the sun-chariot veered out of control setting the earth ablaze. The plains of Africa were scorched to desert and men charred black. Zeus, appalled by the destruction, smote the boy with a thunderbolt, hurling his flaming body into the waters of the River Eridanos. Phaethon’s sisters, the Heliades, gathered on the banks and in their mourning were transformed into amber-teared poplar trees. After his death Phaethon was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Auriga (“the Charioteer”), or else transformed into the god of the star which the Greeks named Phaethon, the planet Jupiter or Saturn. The name Phaethon means “the shining” or “radiant one” from Greek verb phaethô, i.e. “to shine.”