October 24, 2012

ATHENS METAL BLOWOUT: Rotting Christ / Necromantia / Nocternity / Dead Congregation / Embrace of Thorns / Necrovorous / Resurgency / Inveracity / Birth of Depravity / Planet of Zeus

Pic taken at Meteora monastery aka TOTAL FUKKIN DEATH

Since I will be (hopefully) living in Greece at least until October 2013, I figured I'd be a diligent young man and brush up on my Greek metal knowledge - when I'm not busy studying operations management, obviously. As I was walking to school a few days ago, I was listening to Resurgency's False Enlightment and I was pretty much digging it, but wasn't having any other thoughts. After coming home, I went on the Googles and what do you know? Resurgency hailed from Athens. This sparked my interest so I did a quick search on Encyclopedia Metallum for more Athens-based bands and was surprised to find that quite a few bands I liked were from the glorious Greek capital city. Hence, this article. After Zulu's massive soul wandering (great read, bro!), I thought it would be nice to wash it off with some horrific Greek metal.

Sounds good? Great, we'll get started in a moment. Not before letting you know that, as you may suspect, one city can only host so many talented individuals with a total distaste for life and gods. Thus, many of these bands share one or more common members and I will be happy to point out the relationships between them. Also, I am going to pick out an album from each band to feature and, if you like what you hear, it'll be your job to dig for more. GO!

Rotting Christ - Triarchy of the Lost Lovers (1996)

Well, let's get the obvious out of the way. Rotting Christ are one of Greece's premier metal exports and Sakis Tollis and his crew have definitely made a name for themselves, playing great black metal and trucking on since 1987 to present. They've shared members with the mighty Varathron (sadly, they're not from Athens, so I couldn't include them in this post) and Necromantia. I've picked Triarchy of the Lost Lovers because I can't deny the massive appeal tracks like King of a Stellar War, Archon or Snowing Still have. Just brilliant. 

Necromantia - Crossing the Fiery Path (1993)

Necromantia are another cult band from the 90s black metal Hellenic scene. They are best known for using an 8-string bass instead of a guitar, giving their songs a thick extra layer of heaviness. Plus, I still can't get over that yellow goth Spiderman vampire dude with a goatee. He's fucking hilarious. 

Nocternity - Onyx (2003)

Nocternity are responsible for one of my all-time favorite cover artworks. EVER. I fucking love this armor clad, sword-wielding warrior with his awesome helmet. They've used him on several of their albums and I love it every time. Onyx is a stormy, emotional album that's heavily inspired by Burzum's early work. Fuzzy, ambient guitar riffs float and engulf you while the simplistic drumming conveys a solemn atmosphere that's easy to get lost into. Also, these guys are total dorks, as evidenced by the fact that they have a song called Valyrian Steel (Blood of the Dragon) that's about Daenerys Targaryen. Oh, and one of the guitarists calls himself Khal Drogo. LOL. Game of Thrones bros 4 lyfe!! xoxoxo

Nocternity have shared members in the past with Varathron, Limbonic Art and Dead Congregation.

Speaking of which...

Dead Congregation - Graves of the Archangels (2008)

Dead Congregation are one of the best Greek bands around, and that's not just my opinion - it's general consensus. Graves of the Archangels is an insanely heavy masterpiece of swirling doom/death riffs and thundering drumming. The guitars have a really chunky tone which creates a dense, suffocating atmosphere in conjunction with the low growling vocals. Dead Congregations's bassist and drummer also play in Inveracity and guitarist/vocalist A.V. plays in Embrace of Thorns. Pretty sweet incestuous relationships here, if you ask me. 

Still, 4 years have passed since Graves of the Archangels. It's a long time and I really hope these guys put forth some new material. One album is too little material for such a great band. 

Embrace of Thorns - Praying for Absolution (2011)

You only really need to see this band's logo and artwork to get a sense of the kind of music they play. If I tell you that they share the same label as Dead Congregation, namely Nuclear War Now! Productions, it all becomes clear. Or rather, murky and horrific. Embrace of Thorns are one of my favorite bands from NWN's roster and their primitive, occult and thick brand of blackened death metal satisfies me in ways I thought were unimaginable. They share band members with Necrovorous, Dead Congregation and Resurgency and they've adopted stage names like Archfiend DevilPig, Necromancer666 aka Christ Molester or Nuctemeron Bestial Ravisher of the Divine Harmony. SICK NAMES, BROS! 

I might give these guys an email and ask them if they still have some shirts available for purchase. They slay.

Necrovorous - Abhorrent Decay (2009)

This band is sort of a new find, but I really like them. I'm usually not the kind of guy who constantly says ”Yeah, this album is pretty good, but the demo was better”, but in the case of Necrovorous, this statement holds true. Their full-length album Funeral for the Sane is pretty good, but it doesn't hold a candle to the band's previous output. If you're into groovy, diseased, foul Autopsy-worship, step right up and have some fucking oldschool death metal. This material is from a split with Meathole Infection and it kills, but I've  been told that their early demos are the shit, too. I haven't been able to find any of them on the internets, unfortunately. The band features members of Embrace of Thorns and Resurgency and it churns out some totally putrid songs. Highly recommended. 

Resurgency - False Enlightenment (2012)

Resurgency (the band I mentioned at the beginning of this post, for you ADD-types) have released their first album, False Enlightenment, this summer. It's a pretty enjoyable record, conjuring some devastating oldschool death metal sounds that mix brutality with melody and offering enough of a reason to bang your head. The production is pretty clean, the songwriting is good, the riffing is heavy and varied, the drumming is intense and dynamic and the vocals are pretty much spot on. Also, I love the creamy colors on the cover. 

Inveracity - Extermination of Millions (2007)

I guess only playing cavernous, chaotic death metal becomes too much to handle at some point, which is why you need to shut off your brain every once in a while and go to something a bit more fun. Cue Inveracity, a band featuring three members from Dead Congregation who only focuses on churning out sick-ass brutal death metal tunes. It's certainly a departure in sound from the swirling mass of unearthly chaos these guys usually play, but you won't find me complaining. In fact, Extermination of Millions is a pretty solid brutal death metal record, so if you're into heavy chugging, blastbeats and vocals that sound like a dozen chainsaws inside a cement tumbler, go right ahead and give this a try. 

Birth of Depravity - The Coming of the Ineffable (2012)

Next up we have another slamming brutal death metal band called Birth of Depravity. I'm going to be honest here and admit that I have no idea what the sing about. I don't understand any of their lyrics, but I can only assume they deal with disease, sickness, aliens impregnating humans, genital mutilation and so forth. Still, The Coming of the Ineffable is a pretty cool album, despite the rather thin production. I wish there was more meat on those guitars. Oh well. 

Planet of Zeus - Macho Libre (2011)

FINALLY, there's Planet of Zeus, a totally sweet band who plays stoner/southern rock in the vein of Clutch, Orange Goblin, Unida or Hermano. Macho Libre is the soundtrack of a crazy, dangerous, alcohol-fueled race through the desert - the insanely catchy riffs, blazing solos, soaring vocals and reckless drumming turn every song into a stunning party anthem. My only gripe with this album is that the vocalist sometimes uses a Southern accent, trying to sound like a redneck car mechanic or something, which is unnecessary and annoying. Other than that, 9/10 would bang my head. I'll be seeing them live tomorrow night, along with some metalcore bands I've never heard of. Should be a fun night.

This is it, for the time being. Hopefully we can agree that there's a shitload of amazing metal coming from Athens and we can look with hope to the future. A future where each of these bands keeps on truckin' and continues to insult the tastes of normal people with their horrifying music. Comments and inane thoughts are welcome, but I probably won't be reading them. I did promise a massive junk food post, after all.

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