Taking us off on a historic and ageless journey the last album from Greek veterans Kawir Father Sun, Mother Moon absolutely blew me away. The hour plus listening experience was one I completely got absorbed by so was more than ready to lap up their new album Exilasmos. We have a heady subject here again as it looks narratively at the destructive history of the “house of Lavdakides (Oedipus Tyrannus) and the house of Atreus.” This would no doubt make an excellent series along the likes of Rome and I would definitely be up for watching it if it were made. Annoyingly though memories of a Greek Civilisation O Level have long since faded so rather than go into that more, I’m going to stick on safer ground, the music.
First thing to address is that although packed full of ideas this album is not quite as “massive” in scope. The band may not be stripped down as there are no less than 7 involved here along with special guest and London émigré Alex of The One guesting on clean vocals and choirs. The running times overall is more streamlined with 6 tracks reined into just 41 minutes of music. We start with ‘Lykaon’ and yes you should have a clue about origins of that particular name, if not the sound of howling wolves will provide it. Vocal howls are equally bloodthirsty as the track limbers up slowly to bite. It actually reminds of Necrophagia with a filthy guitar line about it before that classic sounding Greek strum joins in really showing the origins that the band have spread right back to 1993. Building into a storming conclusion of sweeping might this hits all the right marks and with an explosive ending, a harsh gust of wind we are quickly thrown into the second assault Oedipus which Rex like a good un (sorry bad pun). Yeah an observer dipping in is going to be reminded of Rotting Christ from the guitar lines make no mistake. There are times the Greek houses are not the only ones providing kings here and there is definitely a stellar war going on here, if you catch my drift. That somewhat identifiable quality just makes it all the more enjoyable for me actually and I am banging head to the beat and playing air guitar along with this one all the way. Those backing vocal choir croons are certainly noticed on this one too. Vocalist Porphyrion really does provide a gravid blood clamouring snarl throughout and with the full force of numbers such as ‘Tantalus’ the combination is pretty damn devastating but no matter how fast and furious everything is here the melody is still fantastically realised too.
Mystical pipes and thundering timpani drums whip up a dust-storm and take me well out of an English sitting room on ‘Thyestia Deipna.’ I am definitely in a very different time and place and if I had suddenly landed there Time Tunnel style I have a feeling I would be running as fast as my legs can carry me to the music, which is certainly very fast. I don’t remember bagpipes being mentioned on Greek History lessons but they crop up on ‘Agamemnon’ who I most certainly do and give a real sense of atmosphere to things along with spiralling guitar solos and a great mid-paced chug. The choirs sweep in again and the sense of spectacle and drama is brilliantly handled. Rabid dictatorial vocals bark out and we are off on another dash no doubt heads are rolling all over the place having firmly been cut off at the neck and spraying gore from their bloody stumps. Keeping the momentum up to the end ‘Orestes’ is a heroic and well-coordinated shred fest which takes no prisoners and although perhaps slightly less grandiose than its predecessor there’s no chance this album is going to leave you feeling short-changed. If you are looking for some classic Hellenic black metal you simply don’t want to miss this one; storming stuff .
(8/10 Pete Woods)