Athos / Lord Impaler
Babylon Whore / Were There Before They Born
Two of Greece's most diabolical entities have combined their efforts on to this split release to ensure that mankind are enveloped in their own cloud of infernal blackness.
First up are the two tracks by Lord Impaler. They have a blasting black metal intensity that hits hard and is relentless and that is readily evident on Babylon Whore. The grim vocals accentuate the hyper blasts of guitars and drums before the song drops into a bit of thrash and then leaps into feverish melodic passages. The track takes a nod from the old Swedish gods of the early 90s while continuing to alternate between a hammering groove and freezing melodies. The White Dream Of Ziz is even more intense with its relentless initial blasts and overall frigid speed. The arcing melodic riff is captivating and serves to pull the listener into the track's dark majesty. The song flows easily into a calm and moody segment filled with a mystical feel only to once again explode into nonstop speed.
Athos however are more aligned with traditional Hellenic black metal songwriting and style. The Final Vow seethes with midtempo Greek grooves and an unmistakable set of Hellenic melodies. The clean vocals add an esoteric flair to the track. The aggression of the track finally picks up around the 4:28 mark and you really notice a similarity to early Greek bands like Thou Art Lord and Varathron. The next track has a Greek name, Αείζωον Πυρ. A more midtempo, and contemplative track, it bears a striking resemblance to some Rotting Christ work. The guitars have a nostalgic and majestic main riff that I believe hearkens to the golden era of heroes. The one shortcoming here is a drum machine which really stands out on the cymbal strikes.
These are two forces in the Hellenic underground and you would do well to check them both out. Dark and mysterious and each with its own personality, this split EP definitely gives you a chance to discover some new springs of everflowing darkness. Blackened majesty is in abundance with Athos and Lord Impaler. Take heed and fall into the abyss.