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Great effort, but something is missing - 70%

Abominatrix, October 24th, 2003

Varathron are very much a greek sounding black metal band, having that distinctive hellenic magical feeling and both a clearly intelligent approach to songs and an obvious homage to good ole heavy metal. Unfortunately, this release is painful in the sense that it is very clear that Varathron have far from achieved their total potential. While the music on display here is ideologically more advanced than the "His Majesty At the Swamp" recording, the sound is worse...the guitars sounding muddy during the fast sections, the obviously computerized drums all but inaudible and the vocals distant and lifeless. There is a very smart sense of arrangement here, which makes the songs initially quite attractive, especially with all the clean guitar and synth intros, which are among the best written in the genre. "Casseopia's Ode" is the longest song here, and also one of the best..starting with a great slow clean guitar riff that builds tension, until suddenly a great and truly metal riff issues forth, and continues thus for a good part of the song. It's reppetitive, but it works, and will have you headbanging and contemplating mystic powers of old simultaneously, if that makes sense. Other powerful moments are liberally spiced through the album. However, I can't escape thinking that something here is missing..that Varathron have somehow been cheated of reaching the fullness they were aiming for. Perhaps it's the less than stellar sound, or something to do with the song writing, which although very intelligent, can tend to be cloyingly repetitive. Or perhaps I merely understand that Varathron have far greater capabilities and haven't at this point been able to realize them. Still, this is quite enjoyable...the ability these riffs possess to be both "metal as fuck" and very introspective and thoughtful simultaneously is quite impressive. The more I listen to this, too, the more depth I seem to see in it. There is clearly a huge amount of talent present in Varathron, a juggernaut that's waiting around the corner to surface. I haven't heard anything from them from a date later than this recording though, so it's entirely possible that they no longer exist. Ah well....this is decidedly interesting and a very trademark "greek" album of black metal with lots of catchy, midpaced riffs harkening to much older bands, plenty of quiet, striking interludes and a tastefulness that undermines much of the theatrical drivel that passes for intelligence in black metal.