Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2023
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Privacy Policy

Necromantia / Αχέροντας > ...for the Temple of the Serpent Skull... > Reviews > Forever Underground
Necromantia / Αχέροντας - ...for the Temple of the Serpent Skull...

Empty Rituals - 50%

Forever Underground, September 18th, 2023

The nature of this split is very interesting, it gathers two Greek black metal bands quite similar to each other but separated by almost two decades, you could almost say that in a way Necromantia, as a veteran band, was passing the torch in a metaphorical way to the, at that time, young band Acherontas. And with that in mind, a split emerged where both bands show us epic and grandiloquent songs with dark and ritualistic characteristics that play some of their cards well but at the end of the day fall short of the mark.

Necromantia opens the split with Magnum Arcanum, and the truth, saving the distances, has always seemed to me a song that tries to emulate somehow the formula of "The Warlock", one of the best songs of the band, mainly because of the division of the track and that segment in the middle with a much more atmospheric and ritualistic character, however the song is influenced by the symphonic style that they started to develop from "Scarlet. ..." and led to a more forlorn and distressed tone during the first decade of the 2000's as evidenced on their two albums from this period. This means that the somber and macabre tone of their early material is totally absent and is replaced by a style that, although cleaner and more ostentatious, completely loses any grit it might have had. And although I don't hate this period of Necromantia at all, the truth is that this track makes clearer the problems they had at that time. The production is quite poor for the exaggerated and pompous style they use here, and where it is most noticeable is in Magus' vocal performance, it sounds like exaggerated whispers recorded with chops and it is very forced in the rest of the recording, which has a very clean and soft tonality for what Necromantia usually is. Furthermore the song fails to make itself interesting enough to justify its length, the composition goes nowhere, it wanders and fails to reach a satisfying climax, its final segment is devoted to repeating the same as the first segment, feeling artificially prolonged. By the end one can appreciate that it is a well constructed track, nice melodies and imaginative use of the 8-string bass and especially the keyboards, but it fails to deliver on many levels.

People of the Sea is the other one song from Necromantia on this release but I won't dwell too much on it, because it's mainly a song from another release that was included here so that both bands' music would reach 18 minutes each. This is a song even more representative of the style Necromantia was practicing at that time and it has the same production problems I mentioned in the previous track, it doesn't contribute too much but its brevity makes it feel much more satisfying than Magnum Arcanum, as they share a similar structure.

Acherontas closes the split with the gigantic The Order of the Silver Serpent, a 18 minutes song divided in 3 parts, I'm not as well versed in Acherontas as I am with Necromantia so I can't comment so much on the aspects of their musical evolution, even so I think that at this point they must still be a band looking for their own sound, because in this song they sound incredibly similar to Necromantia, but with a more traditional style in the way of approaching black metal, so they lose part of that originality and authenticity that characterizes the sound of the well known Greek band. Still, the track works well for most of the time, but as it progresses it loses steam and becomes more atmospheric but doesn't quite work, to the point where the last 5 minutes feel like pure filler. But everything before it works in a great way, it has a very direct sound but it works thanks mainly to the use of the evil riffs and above all by an outstanding performance made by the drummer, the track manages to shine in aspects of power and speed thanks to this enabler, making its most heartbreaking moments the most iconic ones. Even with all that ritualistic mysticism, unlike Necromantia, it does manage to work when merged with the first two parts of the track. The problems in the track start to arise when they slow down the pace and try to get atmospheric, it feels unnecessary and doesn't really add anything to the journey. It's funny that both bands have the same problem in their compositions, maximum chemistry between the two bands I guess.

...for the Temple of the Serpent Skull... is not a groundbreaking split, and it will surely disappoint you if you are a fan of Necromantia, luckily it has vindicative qualities and the role of Acherontas saves the situation a bit, this work helped me to get to know them so I managed to get something positive out of a split which feels incomplete even though there is a lot of material in excess.