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In addition to their collaboration on the Rotting Christ albums Thy Mighty Contract and Non Serviam, Sakis Tolis and Magus Wampyr Daoloth would continue to write for Thou Art Lord, resulting in a number of full-length efforts that evolved stylistically through time. The first of these was Eosforos, an album which capitalized upon their demos with a mystical mesh of black and death aesthetics, ambient experimentation and occult evocation. Using the same lineup as the EP from the year prior, they both expanded and refined their sound to promote stronger riffing and overall songwriting, led by Gothmog's ghastly gutturals and the shining, morbid titillation of synthesizers and Sakis' leads.
To be truthful, this is far closer to Rotting Christ than Daoloth's mainstay Necromantia, but there subtle differences betwixt the two. The vocals are comparable (Sakis even does backups here), but not an exact duplicate, while the riffing is darker and more infused with death metal chugging. However, there are often even more layers of depth and atmosphere drawn upon than on Non Serviam, like the song "Towers of the Autumn Moon" with its creepy yet campy horror synth intro and the driving undercurrents of melody through both the guitar and keyboard; or the crashing percussive chaos of "Through the Eye of the Hierophant". In fact, I'd liken Eosforos to a mixture of Non Serviam and Septic Flesh's amazing full-length debut Mystic Places of Dawn, which was released in the same year. It maintains that same, exotic texture, if cruder and more seductive ("For the Lust of Lilith") and despotic ("The Era of Satan Rising") lyrically.
I must say though that I did not always love the riffing here. A lot of the rhythm guitars, while busy and suitable to their environs, just left me dry, so I was relying on the dry melodies and the keyboards to envelop me. There are exceptions, like the bleeding streams of "Warhammer" or the more directly brutal death metal riffing in "A Call to Chaos (Kaos-Keravnos-Kybernatos"), which was pretty close in style to the first two Deicide records, but on the whole there are just not a lot of patterns here which stood out, so it becomes harder to distinguish them individually over time. I found myself preferring the non-metal passages, but in all its not a bad way to pass 40 minutes of time, even if I wouldn't reach for this over a cult masterwork like Scarlet Evil Witching Black, Thy Mighty Contract or Mystic Places of Dawn. Dark and busy, but the major players here were capable of much more, as they would prove repeatedly.
Brutal Hellenic Black Metal. Yes, this term does exist; at least it does for me, since I heard this album for the first time. Thou Art Lord, the brainchild of Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ) and The Magus (Necromantia) released their first demo one year prior to "Eosforos" and it already showed the direction they were going. But damnit, how did I underestimate the amount of brutality displayed on "Eosforos".
The production is as raw and edgy as it could be, the guitars sounds like chainsaws cutting through the air, the vocals are totally pissed off and menacing as hell. The bass rumbles heavily under the palm muted tremolo-picked riffs and the drums thrash their way through the album. Excellent production, everything can be heard well, and as I said, raw as fuck.
"Eosforos" starts with "For the Lust of Lilith" which already shows hints of what's going to come on this album. It's not a full display of brutality and excellent songwriting yet, but it's a rather good track, where especially the bass shines through. The "chorus" is quite memorable, as both Sakis and The Magus scream simultaneously "FOR THE LUST OF LILITH!". You can't help but scream along with them.
The second track, "Disciples of Black Sorcery" starts with an eerie piano in the background until the typical tremolo-picked riffs come in. A very good intro riff leads into a groovy verse with evil harmonized lead guitars and commanding vocals. The track isn't too varied, but flows along nicely, mainly through the fluent thrash beats keeping the pace very well. The outro riff, though simple, is evil as hell and also the best in the song.
The album really picks up with the next song though, "Eosforos Rex Infernus". Fantastic keyboard work and groovy drumming accompany the riffing on this track. I've never said that to any band before, but the whole riff-structures here scream "Satan!". They surely achieved their goal of bringing sinister, satanic music to the people. There are few vocals on this track, but they are placed perfectly. One of the albums highlights.
"Towers of the Autumn Moon" is even better than it's preceding track, the intro riff is an almost perfect introduction and leads into another, even more brutal, and at the same time, catchy riff. There's even a short, but great solo here (they are rare on this album), which gets repeated four times with great vocal work in-between. The track ends on a slow, almost doomy note, which is a perfect closure for an excellent track like this one.
"A Call to Chaos" has one of the most memorable choruses ever. It consists of The Magus and Sakis screaming "Kaos - Keravnos - Kybernetos!" again and again. The vocal work here is even more straightforward and highpitched, almost reminding of Varg's screaming on his early albums, just with even more balls. The drumming is at it's best here. If War Metal was a genre, the drumming here would be a testimony for it. Another highlight on a great album.
The next two tracks, "Through the Eyes of the Hierophant" and "Warhammer" are also strong tracks, albeit a bit more on the melodic side. Former features the best solo on the album, while the latter also has great use of the aforementioned "war drumming". It's also thrashier than "Through the Eyes of the Hierophant".
The kept the best track for the end: "The Era of Satan Rising". It's the re-recorded version of the same song on their "The Cult of the Horned One" demo. It was the best song there, and it's the best one here. It starts with an almost kids-friendly sounding keyboard melody, creating some kind of false peace (this part was not on the demo version) until the track bursts out a fantastic riff, reminiscent of Rotting Christ's sound on "Thy Mighty Contract". It's catchy as hell, like on the demo, but with higher-pitched vocals, which fit very well. You'll find yourself thrashing around like a madman as the riffs pound on your eardrums. Absolutely no weaknesses here. This song is up to par with the best material on "Thy Mighty Contract".
When I got to hear this album, I immediately got the following one, "Apollyon". It disappointed me quite a bit, because it went to an almost completely other direction, which wasn't nearly as good as this one.
I recommend "Eosforos" to all fans of Black and Death metal, especially to those who enjoy Hellenic BM as much as I do.
Towers of the Autumn Moon, A Call to Chaos, The Era of Satan Rising