Genre: Black Metal
Country: Greece
Label: Agonia Records
Year: 2018

In one of the most turbulent times of modern Greece, in gloomy days during which ghosts from the past showing their face up from the gutter of history where they were laying half dead for some time. In a society that is divided and ready to fight against anything and mostly against common sense, there is something upon which the (whichever) Greek metal community agrees. We had an avant gard that was left to decline either because we turned our eyes away from it, or exactly because it was ahead of its time and as a crowd we had problems absorbing it. Of course, add the aversion against anything Greek that was reeking amateurism, with its negative connotations in mind, namely anti-professionalism and buccaneerism and the puzzle of the reasons why this particular path of Black Metal, with its anti-orthodox, satan worshipping dogma failed to win the masses and the wide acceptance of the Greek crowd since then, is complete. That thing of Greeks and their works being first embraced abroad and then from the indigenous people is something like an incurable disease. I don’t know if I have to use the word shame, because I don’t care if we are talking personally, but indeed a historic chance was missed for a homogenous community to be built in the scene. However, the music that took the restless or problematic –sometimes both – youth of the 90’s by storm, remains immortal. I am against acting like a sports fan in music, even less of being competitive in this form of art, so I can’t discern holy or unholy trinities or any type of categorization like big 3 in any genre. If Necromantia were more aristocratic and Rotting Christ more accessible to the masses, Varathron were always more cult and more evil. If for every thousand fans that have screamed Sakis’ name or went along with the chant “Rotting Christ, Rotting Christ” one bought a Varathron album, our world would be darker and better and some people’s record collection would be richer. Rotting Christ have nothing to do with all that of course… The album was released last April and it hasn’t stopped spinning in my turntable, so this review-presentation has the advantage not to be a rushed or a delusional act of excitement. I loved the simplicity of the compositions that make their music immediate and accessible, even in untrained ears. But the principles are unshakeable and the basis of their sound is stable. This was not an easy feat, but it was necessary in order for the result not to sound like an already served meal. There is a red thread that connects it with the album they released 5 years ago, the one that put them back into the game. The line up is the same for the first time and after two records and many live shows and overall years together, it gave a better consistency in the already nicely written compositions. The production is clear and modern in the same style they introduced with this cleaner approach. But brutality is still there and the melodies are easy to remember and addictive. The best attribute are Necroabyssious’ provocative vocals that remain extreme and brutal, even for a Black Metal band. The Greek accent gives the necessary cult character and if we could forget a small gap after the middle of the record, we could speak about a flawless piece of art. The glorious ending with Ouroboros Dweller puts away all the traces of doubt and affirms the compositional frenzy that the band from Ioannina unfold in the great first three songs of the album, Tenebrous, Into The Absurd, Luciferian Mystical Awakening and in the epic closing I just mentioned. For sure in the top list of a difficult and demanding year. It is damn exhilarating.

5/6