Amarta by Acherontas

Release date: May 31, 2017
Label: W.T.C. Productions

So, Acherontas has released a new album. And while I wasn’t too excited to hear what it would sound like initially, I requested the promo anyway, thinking it could be much better than prior releases I didn’t favor in the past. I had a copy of the band’s album Vamachara, and didn’t listen to it much because it proved underwhelming.

Now that I’ve heard the album, the collaboration with famed Nightbringer founding member and black metal visionary Naas Alcameth has proven rewarding, and has perhaps boosted the band’s excitement with their latest album. Acherontas after all has never been considered mediocre. They’ve flown beneath the radar for the most part, but anyone considering them stellar might be ahead of themselves.

Appearances are deceiving on their latest album Amarta. The cover looks cartoony and I was again apprehensive on whether I would love this album. But, a first listen at the album proves rewarding enough to invest some time listening with a headset on. There were acoustic interludes that were enchanting, and the band don’t simply gallop along or blast and stop. Amarta is filled with nuanced songwriting, and the various licks and riffs prove charmingly effective after repeat intent listens.

The verdict: if you like this band or like some of their previous releases, Amarta will win you over. This is not black metal of the hyped-up kvlt variety. Neither do they spit blood and light torches on stage as some bands do, but Acherontas plays true to its Greek black metal roots, diversifying the riffs and tempos, featuring slower melodic segments, folk/pagan instrumentation, and spoken word vocals that work precisely.

A short word, if you’re into the Witch in Her Tomb variety of black metal, move on quickly. Acherontas’ Amarta is nothing like that, and the band is nothing like them either. For a listen on a countryside replete with melodic touches and folk/pagan influences, you will find this album cohesive, well-written, nuanced and appropriately interesting. They are a veteran band and it shows. The Naas Alcameth collaboration also does the album good. His contributions to black metal are rarely given oversight, as his work is almost always aesthetic to some degree. This time, he merely jams along and the band don’t play another Nightbringer. They play what in essence has largely been their approach, ultimately creating the best music they’ve released thus far.

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