Genre: Black Metal
Label: Repulsive Echo
On a roll with posts of new Greek releases and here’s one of the most anticipated EPs that would come out this year, with everyone holding their breaths until it came out. Whoever has been following the Greek underground would have definitely noticed the return of Jim Mutilator (co-founder of Rotting Christ and original Varathron bassist) into action, teaming up with no other than Magus of Necromantia fame to form a new project named Yoth Iria.
If you haven’t been moved from your seat a little bit just by reading this, then you really don’t have a clue on how much these two musicians influenced and helped the promotion and evolution of the black metal scene in Greece, from its first steps, during a time when even in Scandinavia the wave hadn’t reached the shore yet. For Under His Sway, the contributing members are George Emannuel from Lucifer’s Child on the guitars, and the best underground drummer from Greece, Maelstrom, who has played in all the best projects of our country.
Under His Sway features three tracks, from which one is a Rotting Christ cover and two brand new compositions from the duo. Even the choice of the track they covered, Christ’s “Visions of the Dead Lover”, made me cheer for this EP without having heard anything. As the most famous band from Greece, Rotting Christ usually have a handful of hit tracks covered by other bands again and again, while plenty of spectacular but lesser known tunes of theirs are left unheard. “Visions of the Dead Lover” honors the Thy Mighty Contract era of the band, and it’s executed p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y by Yoth Iria. With fresh air and production, working as if two points in the timeline of the band have absurdly met.
As for the first two tracks, it’s like the EP is split into the side closer to Necromantia with the self-titled track, and the side closer to Rotting Christ with “Sid-Ed-Djinn”, while that is not a completely definite statement. The melodies in the first are pure and beautiful, with the main guitar riff being quite memorable and the background keyboards (done by Jim’s brother, John) are equally great. The second track has patterns very close to the middle paced ideas, as well as the faster parts that Rotting Christ have been using since their inception, with the stellar guitar work completely delivering the expected heavy epicness.
With just three songs, this EP serves as a masterclass of Greek black metal done by its inventors and old legends. While I’m not as much of a fanatic of the scene as others, I can see how people will get completely frantic about Under His Sway, and the only thing missing for me is more music by the project. A Yoth Iria full length album will be a serious issue to assimilate, as they might be the best crossover project the country has seen, and there has been many. In the meantime, as much as you want to replay Under His Sway, it doesn’t get boring. Excellent.