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Triumphant Odes to the Gods of the Sky - 82%

TheStormIRide, April 29th, 2016

Carving out a decent career in one of metal's greatest scenes, Kawir has been a driving force of the Hellenic black metal movement since forming in 1993. Formed by Therthonax, who went by Necromaniac back when he played with Zemial and Nocturnal Death, Kawir has since been home to some of the finest Greek black metal musicians of the scene: with past and current members also serving with acts like Ithaqua, Nightfall, Diavolos, Acrimonious, Flegethon, Varathron, Katavasia, Nocternity, Vorphalack, to just name a handful. After a four year break, Kawir returns with their sixth full length album, Πάτερ 'Ηλιε Μήτερ Σελάνα, henceforth referred to as Father Sun Mother Moon, the English translation.

While Kawir has consistently released solid material, a lot of the band's work was largely overshadowed by their contemporaries. It was always cool how they blended native Greek instrumentation into their sound, but it came across as choppy pagan/black with some gimmicky touches rather than a compelling tour de force. The music often recalled the grandeur of Triarchy of the Lost Lovers and His Majesty at the Swamp with a lot of Mediterranean flute and lyrics about Greek mythology, but the band never quite lived up to their potential.

Father Sun Mother Moon is possibly Kawir's crowning achievement, retaining their penchant for all things Hellenic while producing something more epic and sweeping than previous efforts. Strong melodic riffs with flowing melodies and full bore percussion blend nicely with the wind instruments, offering an album that blends rollicking pagan metal with classic Hellenic black metal. The entire offering is rife with classy melodic movements and punishing blackened metal, and the crisp, clean production allows everything to shine through nicely. It would seem that Kawir has finally capitalized on their sound, while not suffering from poor the production qualities that plagued their early material. Things do seem a tad front heavy, as the first few tracks of the album are far more memorable than back half, but it's by no means a bad album.

Had the band brought the epic grandiosity of the first few tracks to the entire album, then this would be an utterly incredible album: right up there with Macabre Omen's recent masterpiece, Gods of War – At War. Unfortunately the momentum of the front half is not enough to power through the faltering end of the album. That doesn't mean this is a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, but it does keep the album from hitting that sweet spot that we now know Kawir is fully capable of nailing. Regardless, fans of epic and sweeping Hellenic black metal would be silly to pass on this one. It's one of, if not the, best album of their long career. Father Sun Mother Moon places these Hellenic warriors onto a new level.

Written for The Metal Observer.