Released: 2015, Forever Plagued Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Greece may be better known for its sunny climates and sandy beaches, but head deeper and a bleak, frozen underbelly can be found. While Rotting Christ might have put Greece on the black metal map back in the 90s, they are far from the only export in that area, with bands like Naer Mataron, Thou Art Lord and more recently Acherontas carving their own place on the scene. Heading out once again are two relatively new bands, Akrothesim and Septuagint, ready to show what orthodox Greek black metal is all about.
Coming in at just under 8 minutes long, Akrothesim open the split with the shortest song on the album, Syn Panti. Vocals rise in distant growls beneath the chiming guitar riffs and pounding drums as a menacing omnipotent presence. 15 minute Tertium Datur quickly follows with an eerie opener. The song takes on a vastly more ethereal quality throughout, with mid-paced drumming while ghostly voices rise and fall. Half way through though the track starts to lack purpose and becomes a meandering crawl to the end of the song, revisiting a few sections along the way before closing on shaky vocals that appear out of nowhere.
Despite playing together for almost 10 years, Septuagint are rather light on previous releases, with their first and only release Negative Void Trinity published last year in the form of an EP. For a band that has been so inactive their music has a cold, calculated evil to it. Virus.666’s vocals dominate the music, providing bold, powerful cries while a lingering sense of dread provided by layers of dissonant guitar weaves through the sound. Once again however the song length proves challenging for the band, but while Akrothesim became directionless, Septuagint have created two sections of music almost distinct enough to justify separate tracks.
Brought together by the infamous Forever Plagued Records, the two bands are an obvious paring. Both mix elements of the original second wave sound with atmospheric qualities, providing powerful vocals over harsh, dissonant guitars. However while the bands may have a strong sound, the split does not work to their strengths. They are by no means seasoned writers of extremely lengthy songs with both bands failing to really keep the energy and focus throughout the track. While it may not be the perfect split, it does show that given the chance, Greek black metal can pack in some seriously cold sounding riffs and I can’t wait to see what these guys can do given time.
Review by Caitlin Smith