Achterontas - Ma Ion (Formulas of Reptilian Unification) [W.T.C - 2015]Iím really starting to get sick of occult, riffless black metal that seems to be in vogue: bands that would rather spend a quarter of their album chanting, playing little ritualistic drum beats, and looping dark ambient tracks than laying down the metal law and bringing the riffs. Whatís even more puzzling is that these bands are ostensibly worshipping Satan. Everyone knows that Satan is more pleased by neckwrecking riffs than incense and occult triangles; someone needs to let these guys know that theyíre screwing up. Achterontas is a Greek band playing in the aforementioned style, preferring to let their general occultness and nonmetal portions of their music do the Satan worshipping for them, while the neglected metal potions languish by the wayside.
Newsflash: Nobody actually cares about your philosophy 101Ėstyled musings, Acherontas. Fuck off with your Aleister Crowley bullshit. Even NSBM bands using out of context Nietzsche quotes are less odiously mind-numbing. We listen to metal for riffs Ė start writing some.
It really is quite puzzling why some bands fail to grasp this, the simplest of metalís principles. I mentioned bands that use a quarter of their album to highlight how occult they are. Acherontas uses a full 45 minutes on Ma Ion (Formulas of Reptilian Unification). We get it motherfuckers! We could tell what you were all about from your album cover and song titles; no need to bash us over the head with it. The head-bashing continues for an egregious 70 minutes. Even the parts where they work black metal into the mix are half-assed, with rhythm guitars toiling away fruitlessly while limp-wristed, occult-flavored leads echo around. The clean tone of the lead guitars evokes a convincing ancient Egyptian atmosphere at times, but most of the time they are just nonriffs or simple scales played in minor key.
Another of the albums faults is the drumming. It somehow manages to be both horribly unimaginative and overactive, bouncing between the two styles. Much of the album is made up of pointless segments of chanting or readings while Gionata Potenti patters away with stock ritualistic drum beats. Evidently he thought these parts were boring too, as whenever the band remembers itís supposed to be playing black metal, he is seized by a feverish desire to hit every part of his kit at the same time. He pounds out a fill every five seconds, manically bashing away at his toms and cymbals until they are nothing more than a smoking pile of rubble. The hyperactive drumming makes it difficult to concentrate on the rest of the band, but thereís not much to miss in the first place.
Nikolaos Panagopoulosís vocals are possible the sole bright spot of the album. While there isnít much variation in the vocal stylings, his heavily accented, gruff shouts are quite commanding, drawing your attention from everything else.
While this album is really boring, I canít say I was disappointed. These types of releases are a dime a dozen on labels like WTC and DWP; once youíve heard one, youíve heard them all. Ma Ion (Formulas of Reptilian Unification) is slightly different, if only by virtue of being unusually long, but this is hardly an asset. There are no distinguishing features on this album to set it apart from the numerous other black metal bands who have jumped on the occult bandwagon. Give this album a pass. Tyler L.