Extended atmospheric intros set the mood for an album, usually with something daunting, something chilling, and something satanic, occult, or whatever mystical or esoteric source the band have chosen for their point of reference. With swelling synths sounds, liturgical whispers, and a grim recital of a dark invocation, ‘Opening the Eye of the Storm’ quickly identifies Acherontas as a ritualistic band, calling to mind, for one, Watain (with whom Acherontas share some noticeable similarities) and that elevated level of devotion to music as art, as ceremonial and sublime. With their position clearly established, Acherontas quickly move on to the job of tearing off many faces with punishing pieces of black metal, the drums, strummed chords, and the melodic might of the tracks ever-ascending into devastating highs. There are slower, moodier passages with lingering ambiences that hang in the darkness, and eerie melodies scattered throughout the epic structures. The guitar work is very impressive, shifting between black metal riffs and arpeggiated and broad, panoramic vistas, and bring into being a dense and richly bleak aesthetic. Check the closing two minutes of ‘Abraxas’ to hear how a band can use clean guitar and a touch of reverb to create evocative and opulent textures. The eleven minute ‘Draconian Womb’ that closes the album is where all that Acherontas are capable of comes to the fore. Musical and instrumental mastery fortify the complex structure and towering riffs meet disharmonious guitar lines as Acherontas leave the best till last. And instrumental ‘Ohm Krim Kali’ demonstrates another side to the band, acting almost as an interlude, instead using acoustic instruments, ritualistic chants and ethereal sounds in its labyrinthine layers and simplistic structure. Of the current spate of Greek black metal currently battling its way to the fore, ‘Vamachara’ is an accomplished work. On the surface, very powerful, and on repeat listens, the depth and power of this album slowly emerges to reveal elements as if from beyond the past and the realms of reason, somewhere primordial. Highly recommended.
Review by Jason Guest
25th Oct 2011
1) Opening the Eye of the Storm
2) Blood Current Illumination
5) Ohm Krim Kali
6) Beyond the Mazeways to Ophidian Gnosis
7) Drakonian Womb
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"On the surface, very powerful, and on repeat listens, the depth and power of this album slowly emerges to reveal elements as if from beyond the past and the realms of reason, somewhere primordial."