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Hellenic Black Metal Glory - 97%

CannibalCorpse, November 22nd, 2006

Agatus were one of the earlier Greek Black Metal bands and still belonged to the first wave of Hellenic BM. Formed in 1992, Agatus released their first demo "Night of the Dark Ages" in 1993, which already showed great potential and was a good showcase of what they were up to; Around a time where both Rotting Christ and Varathron released their highly-respected debuts, Agatus turned into a different direction.

Agatus' focus lies not in utilizing fast, often harmonized tremolopicked leads and riffs, instead they form their ideas around power chords, which are used in many different speeds and forms. They are supported by more typical, but well understandable Black Metal vocals, as well as by traditional Hellenic keyboards. Even synth flutes appear (think of Necromantia) here and there.

Agatus' riffs are amazingly well written. Even though they are not overly technical, they amaze with great chord progressions, intense memorability and a vast amount of catchiness. Two tracks here ("When the Macabre Dance Begins", “Nostalgia”) are completely acoustic and feature some of the best string work I've ever heard. Again, no amazing technical skills used here, but I've never felt so much like being back in the medieval times. Think of "Dark Medieval Times", but just a hundred times more effective (and yes, I even like that album!)

Another point must be given to the drumming. It's skilled, furious, heavy and varied. The best drumming I've heard on any oldschool Greek BM album yet, by far. Sure, the competition is not that great (since lots of the early bands used drum-computers) but trust me, this guy knows his kit very well. Thundering doublebass, high-speed blastbeats and folky beats, everything here.

"Dawn of Martyrdom" is a Greek Black Metal masterpiece and will send your mind right back to the middle ages. Great songwriting, great musicians and strong songs will guide you on your way.

Recommended to all fans of the more extreme side of metal.

Highlights:

Under the Spell of the Dragon
Demons of the Great Kingdom
When the Macabre Dance Begins
Spirits from the Depths of the Earth
Nostalgia