Reviewed: January 2021
Released: 2021, Pagan Records
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Founded by two ex-members of Rotting Christ in 2019 (with Jim Mutilator being an original member), Yoth Iria are a black metal band hailing from Athens, Greece. After releasing three-track EP Under His Sway less than a year ago, Yoth Iria returned with a split with in November with Greek comrades Kawir back in November. January 25th will see them unleash another round of Hellenic fury in the form of their first full-length As The Flame Withers.
“The Great Hunter” begins the album in a very epic way, with soaring, triumphant guitars and rapid, ravaging drums. We are also introduced to the relentless force that is the voice of The Magus. The keys and chorals work to an eerie effect with the harsher ingredients, resulting in a beautiful yet visceral experience.
It’s plain to see why the second track (and second single) was named for the band. “Yoth Iria” seems to embody all they are about, from the lyrical content to the music: everything is full of darkness and majesty. Patsouris’ keys add the right amount of etherealness to the track, entrancing the listener throughout.
“Hermetic Code” has a very haunting quality to it, which is exaggerated by the snarled vocal delivery and repetitions in the music. A few ambient moments displayed in the previous track resurface, and the interplay between the acoustic and electric moments combine well here to heighten the esoteric mood.
Overlapped with a creepy-yet-captivating whispered segment, the two-minute long intro “The Mantis” could be likened to one fellow Athenians Septicflesh could have penned, before it evolving into a more upbeat, original beast. Definitely the most uniquely interesting offering on As The Flame Withers.
“The Red Crown Turns Black” sees Mutilator and Maelstrom shine in the rhythm section on the record’s first single, contrasting “Hermetic Code” with its often speedy approach. One of the more ‘traditionally’ black metal tracks on this release due to its tempo and heavy use of blast beats, this is the strongest song on the second half of the album.
Sixth chapter “Unborn, Undead, Eternal” mirrors track three as a lot of the melodies and vocal hooks re-appear here, being only quite dissimilar in terms of lyrical content. However, “Hermetic Code” feels more successful, with its ambient touches adding more of an emotive force to the music.
The simplicity of the lyrics during “Tyrants” marries well with the instrumentation. George Emmanuel provides some riveting riffs throughout, some increasing the urgency in The Magus’ cries to devastating effect.
With its multitude of symphonic and ambient hints coupled with the heavier parts, “The Luciferian” starts off promisingly. Here the gutturals are combined with spoken word, which adds some much-welcomed variation to the vocal delivery. Yoth Iria managed to include most of the great elements utilised in the several tracks before the final one, with a new sinister touch marking the end of the lyrics.
As The Flame Withers is a fantastic debut album from Yoth Iria, who meld older and newer styles of black metal effortlessly to project a sense of ancient mysticism.
You can pre-order As The Flame Withers by Yoth Iria here, set to be released in January via Pagan Records.