Agonia Records 2011

Greek black metal horde Acherontas let fly a flurry of hypnotic and melodic riffs on their third full length album, Vamachara.  Right from the outset of the album's first song Blood Current Illumination there are some readily discernable references to me.  The repetitive melodies bring to mind Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger style, but they are cleaned up and more polished which sort of puts images of Dissection into my head.  The main riff repeats over and over initially, but there are little nuances that have been written in that keep it from getting stale and which advance it further than the primitive utterings of Darkthrone.  Towards the latter half of the song it turns further towards more developed Swedish black metal archetypes, especially as the song slows down its pace.  Abraxas takes the previous song's structure and reverses it, instead starting with the slower tempo and atmospheric Swedish melodic black metal songwriting.  The clean and fragile guitar that closes out the song is as somber and forlorn as anything Katatonia has ever written.  This is the calm before the storm because as soon as the delicate guitar passage ends there is an explosion of intense melodic riffs on the title-track.  Vocals are barked while cold, blackened riffs sweep across the song.  These blasting guitars appear throughout the song and serve to give the song a balance between the speedy and slower parts.  There is a classic metal passage sewn into the track around the 5:06 mark which somewhat illustrates the bands' instrumental prowess.  Acherontas play black metal but steer clear of the typical paradigms of the Hellenic scene and instead opt for a more matured Scandinavian style.  This is not necessarily a great move though as this album lacks some of the qualities that make the Greek scene so distinctive and pushes Vamachara into realms where they may get lost amongst the fields of standard black metal squads.  With that said, this is a sharp album and has some real catchiness in areas where it counts.