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On this album Acheron continue on the path they started walking with “Anti-God, Anti-Christ”. That means: simple mid-tempo atmospheric death metal with some doomy touches. “Those Who Have Risen” is the first Acheron album not to feature any intros between the songs, something that already had become a tradition for this band. Only the intro “Nosferatu Prelude” is a keyboard piece (and too long in my opinion, clocking in at almost six minutes). The keyboards are used almost constantly on every song throughout the album. Most of the time they simply follow the guitar riffs and create a backdrop for the rest of the music.
Just like “Anti-God, Anti-Christ”, this album was recorded at Audio Lab Studios and I’m sad to say that the result again isn’t much to my taste. The guitars are too thin and down in the mix (why?) and also otherwise the production lacks punch to some degree. Things would’ve sounded a lot better with a heavier guitar sound and the guitars more upfront in the mix. Also the complete lack of fast parts is something that I think lessens the impact of the music. The old Acheron stuff always contained some fast thrashy parts which contrasted the slow parts and made their music very enjoyable despite its simplicity.
On this album every song sounds pretty similar to the next: simple heavy riffs, pretty much the same tempo in every song and nearly ever-present synths. On the previous album Acheron started to write longer tracks than before and this development continues on “Those Who Have Risen”. The idea of longer songs doesn’t always work though, because I occasionally feel a bit bored by the material. I don’t think that the band always had enough ideas and riffs for such long songs. Cutting the tracks down by a few minutes would’ve been a good idea. Despite these shortcomings “Those Who Have Risen” is a decent and quite solid album as a whole. The “problem” is that there’s nothing that grabs your attention immediately, you have to let the music grow on you before it opens up. There are no hit songs and no riffs that immediately make you want to headbang. The best tracks here are “Lifeforce (the Blood)”, “Hekal Tiamat”, “Necromanteion Communion” and “Out of Body”, all of which have good flow to them despite not being very varied and manage to avoid the boredom trap that some other tracks on this album fall prey to. The four tracks I mentioned work very well even without any fast parts and sound very dark.
Michael Estes’ solos on this album are good, the guy’s a shredder, but at the same time I have to repeat what I said in my review of “Lex Talionis”: I feel that these kinds of solos are too refined for a band like Acheron. However, this is more of a minor complaint, some people love these types of solos. I usually do so as well but they just don’t fit every band in my opinion. The lyrics on this album aren’t directly Satanic as they used to be before, this time the lyrical concept deals with vampirism, more specifically The Temple of the Vampire.
Acheron fans have probably checked this album out already, if not, keep in mind that this album isn’t as aggressive as e.g. “Rites of the Black Mass” and “Lex Talionis”. Even if I don’t think this is a bad album per se, I still like the early Acheron albums better, as they were more in-your-face and extreme. The inclusion of some fast parts in the songs, varying the arrangements a bit more and a better production are all factors that would have made “Those Who Have Risen” better than it is now.