While LÜÜP may be the brainchild of Greek composer and multi-instrumentalist Stelios Romaliadis, it’s far from a solo project and while I usually comment on individuals on each song, a quick look at the discography on their official site where you can list the musicians on ‘Canticles of the Holy Scythe’, shows I’d be writing a tome here just to mention them all.

I guess I should also clarify that the metal element of this band is more in tone and ambience than in instruments played, else you might be taken aback by the classical instruments used everywhere.

That said, there’s also a plenty of minimalism used here too, for instance on “Γιατί Είναι Μαύρα τα Βουνά (Why Are The Mountains Black)” there is just a piano and santouri along with the three female vocalists singing the traditional Greek folk lament with exquisite harmonies.

“9°=2° (Κόγξ ὀμ Πὰξ)” opens with violas and cellos that carry an eerie tone that is made all the more unsettling by Sofia Sarri’s ‘witch’ vocals and the haunting bassoon melody in the background. About a quarter of the way through the 8 minute song the tempo of stings increases considerably with a little touch of discordance to make sure your hair stands on end, before the singing bowls make an appearance and the song ends with an malevolent chant.

Rotting Christ’s Sakis Tolis lends his dulcet tones to “The Greater Holy Assembly (Ha Idra Rabba Qadisha)” where his softly spoken vocals are punctuated by Sofia Efkleidou’s screeching cellos until he has to start shouting to be heard over them.

“Noctivagus (Apparition Of Death)” on the other hand has the Ghost Woodwind Ensemble gently blowing on their instruments to calm everything down before “Stibium (Triumph Of Death)” has Bjørn “Aldrahn” Dencker add his sinister black metal vocals to the very subdued strings and woodwinds to great effect.

The final track “Зона (Mors Consolatrix)” has Anna Linardou whispering phonetically over Stelios Romaliadis’s rather sombre piano in a beautifully morosely melodic way.

Actually a real pleasure to listen to this album as it builds to a crescendo then fades back to utter minimalism, never quite becomes overbearing in any way.

(8/10 Marco Gaminara)