Cyprus, a jewelled island loved by practitioners of package holidays, a place of sunshine and delight, full of pleasure seekers and ice cream munching children. Well that’s the image that I have in my head but you can banish it straight from yours oh gentle reader as that is not the place we are going to as far as Accurst are concerned. Perhaps we are venturing to long forgotten caves and caverns beneath the sea where eldritch beasts lurk and hideous mutated beings are chained up, banished to places of no light where they are never, it is hoped, likely to escape from again. Nicholas Triarchos is the name of the person behind Accurst and the cause of resurrection of ancient evil here. Messenger Of Shadows is the third in a trilogy of terrors and was originally released in 2016. It was obviously sniffed out and its rank odour attracted those at Aesthetic Death who know a good rotten scent when they sense it and promptly brought this out to a wider audience.

“Stop waffling and what type of music is it,” you say? Ok, well in 3 words it is thus declared ‘ritual dark ambience’ and that should allow you to read on and seek out or slope off looking for different delights. As we proceed nervously into ‘the charnel house’ all sorts of eerie sounds unveil themselves and set the skin on edge, things slash and tinkle in discordance. Jagged noise pervades and gibbering things nightmarishly toy with you in the shadows. It’s like walking into the midst of an H.P. Lovecraft or Clive Barker nightmare, take your pick, hell is empty all the demons are here! After the jarring opening things settle and rumble into more minimalist territories as we are shrouded in the skin and ‘Enveloped by Erebos.’ Wander down its dark tunnels by all means but don’t be complacent, you will never know what unimaginable horror is lurking round the next corner. Is that a tolling bell, the slothful sound of dread acolytes slithering to its call? Very probably as you meld yourself into slimy wall and hope they will pass you unnoticed.  We follow and find ourselves ‘Gazing into the Abyss (The Depths of Tartaros)’ at the albums longest hellish epoch.  A nasty clamour rises, demons arise, their call like souls in torment. It is normally at this point I would observe what a great soundtrack to a horror movie this would make but in this case fragments of Accurst have made their way into the films Sinister 1 and 2. I have seen the original directed by Scott Derrickson and it certainly lives up to its name even if I am not a great fan of the more modern Blumhouse production stable. I am definitely tempted now to go back and peel back the musical layers behind it after this. The rising crescendo of the music now is truly terrifying.

As far as dark ambient is concerned this is certainly not an album to put on and meditate or relax to, that would be absolutely calamitous, it’s as jarring at times as Goblin’s spells of destructive and experimental witchcraft. Indeed the bubbling sounds of ‘Facing Melinoë Amidst Phlegethon’s Fiery Torrents’ have visions of vats of multi-coloured liquid in the alchemist’s lair of Dario Argento’s Inferno. Will we escape this madness, not judging by some of those evil cackles chasing on the way out. This is pant-soiling stuff and veers from deeply unsettling to full on panic mode. Be afraid, be very afraid and listen at the Bandcamp link below.

(7.5/10 Pete Woods)