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Hellenic Black Metal at its Best - 88%

Lycaon, August 11th, 2004

Together with Rotting Christ and Necromantia, Varathron compose the "Holy Triad" of Hellenic Black metal and are possibly the band that is the most characteristic of that genre. Having passed from of a period of Slayerish mystical thrash metal (Genesis of Apocryphal Desires), Varathron reach their peak with this "His Majesty at the Swamp" and this very album.

Varathron's sound could be described as Melodic Black Metal, or more accurately Heavy Metal with growling vocals and Thrash/Black outbursts. The music is based on strong trance-like melodies and powerful riffs, while droning epic synths (long before the Enthrone Darkness trend) and clean guitars fill the acoustic canvas. Along with Septic Flesh (whose guitarist, Sotiris, contributes a great guitar solo on "Somewhere beyond Seas") Varathron are one of a few bands that manage to convey a feeling of travelling to unheard and forgotten ancient places, like those that are mentioned in the lyrics of the album. Still agression is not overlooked and Varathron do not lose the chance to remind you of their backround when needed, with crunchy thrash riffs and melodic black metal phrases in the vein of the Norwegian scene. Unfortunatly the album's production suffers from the typical sloppy production of the Storm studio, the drum machine cannot replace a real drummer (it is too "sparsely" programmed, same thing happens with early Septic Flesh and Necromantia releases) and the guitars should have a stronger sound. However this should not discourage a possible buyer, the music of the album is too good for someone to ignore; plus it is one of the few samples of real Melodic Black Metal before this genre degenerated into gay looking Iron-Maiden-with-Screams rock star wanabee bands.