Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Reviews: The Magus, Infernal Throne, Melan Selas, Θλίψις​/Thlipsis (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

The Magus - Βυσσοδομώντας/Vissodomontas (The Circle Music)

Starting with Satanic black metal and ending with grooving blues rock? Welcome to the obscure world of The Magus. A founding member of Necromantia, Youth Iria and a former memebbrr of Rotting Christ, his music voice and devotion to spreading the gospel of Lucifer is legendary. After releasing the final Necromantia album in 2021, the death of his bandmate Baron Blood leading to The Magus disbanding the legendary band. If there was anyone who believed in the ethos of 'Non Servium' it's The Magus. His debut album Βυσσοδομώντας translates roughly to "Screwing Up" he places the blame solely on humans who were given this earth to look after by Satan (not God). This is the debut solo album from The Magus and it carries that black flame for the fallen angel right through it's exploratory study on Hellenic Black Metal.

Based on a foundation of the man that co-founded it but taking enough different routes to define it as a different project to that of Necromantia. The Magus himself takes up vocals and bass, while El (Soulskinner, Zaratus, Thou Art Lord, Principality of Hell etc) and Maelstrom (Necromantia, Yoth Iria, Thou Art Lord, Principality of Hell) take ups guitars and drums, both are long time collaborators so they mesh well as a trio. Add to this special guests such as King Dude, IDVex (1/2 Southern North ), Hel Pyre (W.E.B.), Iraklis Gialatzides (Swan Christy), Manos Six (Manos Six And The Muddy Devil) all appearing while Christos Antoniou of Septicflesh arranged the live choir (who better am I right?). Rounding out this who's who of Greek musicians is George Emmanuel (Lucifer's Child, Necromantia, Rotting Christ) produced, mixed and mastered the record giving the right amount of power for these sermons. 

Βυσσοδομώντας is a lot more conceptual than perhaps you'd find with Necromantia, there's brass, orchestras, hard rock, blues and more wrapped up in the Satanic black metal that is The Magus' modeus operandi The Fall Of Man and Lux Tenebrarum both scorching black metal cuts as the titles track goes more atmospheric and Ama Lilith invites some traditional Greek music. Cinematic and sonically rich The Magus returns from his exile to smite unbelievers. 9/10

Infernal Throne - Caelum Et Infernum (Theogonia Records)

One man metal projects are either terrible or great, so for a music writer they can come with a sense of trepidation. Hailing from Corinth, Infernal Throne is the brainchild of Panos Iliopoulos, who contributes everything, all instruments, vocals and production to Caelum Et Infernum. A supposed powerhouse of the Hellenic underground this is his first release on Theogonia Records, a debut full length coming after a well-received EP in 2020 which promised a lot from this vicious mix of black/thrash, and the five way split, under the title of Hellenic Metal World highlighting the best of Hellenic extreme metal. 

As it’s black metal mixed with the early thrash sound comparisons to Celtic Frost, Venom and even Bathory and Darkthrone can be made. Now the vocals I take a little bit of an issue with as on Wings Of Winter I love the snarl but on Desolation, the overacted squeaky black metal style is hilarious rather than menacing. It could be because this album features guest vocalists with Greg Barlas of Arcane Dread/Extremity Obsession bringing the snarling thrash shouts and someone called Kerveros from one man project Athos. 

Unfortunately his contribution is made a little worse by the vocals being high in the mix, but thankfully things go back to normal with Among Two Worlds and the blistering title track. If you want a lesson in how to do black metal vocals well check out Αιώνια Ζωή which features Archon who I believe is from Celtefog. Considering its one guy Infernal Throne has a lot of colour to it, there’s very little of the ‘bedroom’ ultra-compressed raw for raw sakes production style. It’s dirty enough for black metal fans but has melodic passages that move it away from cvlt analogue tape noise. 

The thrash influences on Thy Flame Of Darkness and others means that there’s variation to the tremolo, blastbeat formula as you get grooves and shredding too. I don’t know how much is real and how much programmed (mainly the drumming I assume) but it doesn’t suffer, sounding like a full band. Caelum Et Infernum is a debut album that impresses, at 50 minutes there is a lot too it, but I would stick to vocals from him and Greg (or someone with a similar voice) as these work the best against this black/thrash hybrid. 7/10

Melan Selas - Zephyrean Hymns (The Circle Music)

Atmospheric black metal band Melan Selas, look to create their own path in the Hellenic black metal scene with a style of music that leans on a style that pairs black metal screams with haunting clean vocals and riffy backing rather than the tremolo picked super speed. Opening with the triumphal blasts of Mountain Top, Melan Selas seem to bring Viking/Folk/Cinematic sounds to this new record, concentrating on the natural world, ancient times and philosophy, similarly to Brits Winterfylleth, a track such as Wanderer, really highlighting their folk tendencies as acoustics and keys are the main instruments used. 

All very impressive when you consider they are a duo, from Trikala, they are comprised of D.K on instruments and Astraea on vocals. The album feels a little D.I.Y, the vocals and guitars standing out, over the electronic choirs and plentiful synths/orchestrations which do sound a little inorganic. Though that's shouldn't deter you as in their songwriting Melan Selas managed to keep me interested with the dalliances with thrash and death metal on Humble Soil, the blastfest of Trumpets Of War and the melancholic chug of Darkened Cliff, where the Greek language is used brilliantly. 

Seeking to find meaning with rituals older than the Orthodox Church, a subject D.K's other band Katavasia deal with. Melan Selas is organic lyrics played with processed instruments, a juxtaposition yes but one that makes for some great atmospheric music. 7/10

Θλίψις​/Thlipsis - Dawn Of Defiance (Floga Records)

Another debut album this time from Θλίψις​ (Thilipsis), meaning sadness, oppression or affliction, this debut album is a touch paper of revolution, rebellious and uncompromising, taking aim at oppressive regimes and the rise of the right wing, it’s aggressive and direct. 

Dual screaming vocals, incendiary, discordant guitar playing and a rhythm section that never lets up, Dawn Of Defiance is a much more traditional style of black metal, featuring members of Sorgelig, its raw and rampant, nihilistic and nuclear. The lead guitar playing on Acta Non Verba sitting just right on the blast beats, for 33 minutes they punish you, but it’s not one note, variation is king, switching riffs when needed. 

Doom atmospheres and choirs come on the painful An Open Wound while the 7 minute, The Night The Wolves Were Silent is atmospheric with spoken word sections that I’ll have to get my wife to translate but I assume they are about oppression and resistance from my limited Greek. 

Sonically dark, but burning with the sense of injustice, Dawn Of Defiance, rips through 30 odd minutes of black metal, produced well and with something important to say. 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment