Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Thy Darkened Shade: Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs (2012)

Olympic Superiority

Guest review by Patrick, proprietor of Beards Etc., home of metal, beards, and more.

I have come to feel that Greece may well have the best current black metal scene in the world, and the debut album of Athens-based Thy Darkened Shade further cements that notion in my mind. Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs was released in May of this year, and I had heard nothing about it or the band until hearing the album itself.

Apparently these guys have been around for over a decade, so it's easy to understand why this doesn't sound like a debut album. Rather, it sounds like the work of a fully matured black metal powerhouse who know exactly what they're doing. The vocals are primarily throaty shrieks, totally unintelligible but perfectly suited to the music. There are a couple places where some peculiar, reverb-laden baritone chanting crops up, creating some little interludes that provide interesting atmosphere without ever overstaying their welcome. Some very low simulated strings make a few appearances as well, adding occasional tasteful accents without ever stepping into the forefront.

The guitar work on this album is wonderful. The often surprisingly intricate dual riffs uphold the delicate balance between melody and harshness with expert precision, and evidently all the guitar layers are put down by the same man. In some places the riffs are bouncy and energetic, in others distant and cold, and in others blisteringly violent. There is constant change, propelling the music forward and keeping things interesting for the listener without ever having to break from the core sound the group establishes. This is an excellent trait, since black metal can sometimes fall into the trap of blurring one song into the next again and again throughout an album, producing a fairly redundant slab of work in the name of keeping the music "pure". Often that falls most heavily on the guitar work. In this case, each song has its own distinct character while the essential sharp hostility of good black metal is firmly maintained throughout the record.

The drums have a good, full sound, and they work very well with the guitar. Just like the riffing on each track, the drums seldom sit still for long. Instead, they keep making small shifts and adding in varied fills to keep propelling the record forward.

Production is often a sticky issue with black metal, and in my opinion Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs is again right on the mark. Everything is rough and unpolished, but it's clear enough to make out and appreciate every element of the music. One oddity I would like to note is that these guys really love their reverb, especially on the drums and chanted vocals. That could backfire quite easily, but it works here, giving the impression of a horrible creature in some deep, dank cavern.

I don't really have anything negative to say about this record. Every element clicked, and it kept me interested all the way to the end. I really look forward to hearing more from these guys, because this is the best new black metal album I've heard this year.

The Verdict: 4.5 out of 5

Thy Darkened Shade

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