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Great album - 93%

GeorgeMFZB852, March 28th, 2015

Ever since Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler saw a mysterious figure at the foot of his bed and inspired the lyrics for the opening track on their 1970 debut, horror has been a defining trait of the metal genre. Whether it's Slipknot adorning creepy masks, Venom pretending to be devout Satanists or Rob Zombie...well, using the name Zombie. Metal and horror, or metal and the devil, have always gone hand-in-hand.

Very few of the so named "horror-metal" bands are genuinely scary, however. While the dark imagery and controversial lyrical themes can help stage presence live or the atmosphere on a recorded piece, you very rarely get actual chills the way you might from a good horror film. If one band is to change this, however, it's Acherontas.

From the eerie intro on 'Fires Of Prometheus', which sounds almost like it should be on a horror game's menu screen, to the 7 minute 47 seconds long 'Shaman And The Waning Moon' that holds no actual music, Ma-Ion (Formulas Of Reptilian Unification) is a heavily occult-themed black metal album with an absolutely mental degree of scope.

When the black metal is present, it's good. Brilliant, in fact. The deep guttural growls, ferocious guitars and heavy pounding drums found on 'Lunar Transcendence & The Secret Kiss Of Nut' are undeniable. Whilst 'Therionic Transformation' is a goose-bump conjuring epic that's basically an explosion of everything heavy and dark. However, at times, you'll be waiting a while for the genuine music.

You'll find tribal drum beats over eerie tones on the intro to 'The Awakening Of Astral Orphic Mysteries - Behind The Eyes Of Irida' , creepy chanting and singing on 'Fires Of Prometheus' and Australian didgeridoo sounding groans on 'Permutation In The Aetheric Void (Ma-Ion Sacred Seal)'. These all effectively add to the atmosphere, making the heavy moments even more overwhelming, but that's if you can be bothered to stick with it.

Casual listeners may lose interest, but those that stick with Acherontas have found a gem from the deepest of metal's underground. You'll have no idea what they're singing about unless you're an occult scholar, you'll have no idea why the peculiar and seemingly random sounds are there and you'll have absolutely no clue why the lengthy sinister tones go on so long at times, but, for some reason, you won't be able to knock it. The best things in life aren't easy, they take work, and if you let this album work at drawing you in, it will, in a refreshing and exhilarating way.

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