July 5th, 2010
Release length: 41:25
Right off the bat, fans of the band will notice a huge twist within the music itself. The vocals are the traditional Black Metal rhasp style, but executed in a screaming fashion from start to finish, and it comes off powerful, but a bit too cliche due to the overall production of the album placing them at the forefront of the recording with a highly podded volume level that feels more distracting then anything at times, such as during “Theos Tou Aimatos”, where the vocals just seem to take over and almost drown out much of the music.
“Theos Tou Aimatos” also houses the biggest obvious musical direction change, though it does show on the two other tracks as well, moreso on “Alpha”. The band switches between blast beats and furious music with chuggingguitars and a mid-paced drumming, which makes for the general change in the band’s Black Metal style, but there also seems to be a whole genre included into the mix at times, as many songs find a huge Melodic Death influence being incorporated into the mix, and giving the band more of a sound like earlier At the Gates at times, but with a more epic feel to them, which pops up throughout the song “Theos Tou Aimatos” and a few others. However, this chugging pace isn’t anything all too fantastic, and at times the new musical approach simply doesn’t have much group to stand on other then hammering at the listener through much of the track and showing signs of atmospheric life here and there.
“The Last of the Cursed Days” shows a more melodic approach without branching out into another musical direction, setting an atmospheric tone at the start of the song, but then it hits with the chugging guitars and drumming, which isn’t the most original approach to the song, but it really makes the song stand out and become one of the best tracks off the release through it’s excellent execution and atmospheric elements drive it along nicely. Aside that, “Alpha” seems to have some problems with the music as well, which starts off nicely with a blistering pace that is consistency upheld through the recording, but this track seems to find the bass a little higher and more important in the mix, which actually hurts it as the bass notes sound off compared to the harmonized lead guitars, and during these moments where the blast beats seem to fill the air of the track, it just doesn’t quite sound right at all. And, again, it’s hard to dismiss the Melodic Death Metal allegations of this release when “Nature Our Slave” kicks in with a heavily Melodic chorus that features some keyboards to set a nice atmosphere to the music, but one that takes away from the more modern Black Metal sound the band plays on this release.
Overall, there’s not much to really say about Exthros by Algaion. It’s a solid effort with some great songs that utilize melody as an atmospheric tool then anything else, and really seem to focus on a more chugging sound through many songs. It’s clear of the influences in the band that appear through the songs, especially since the band pays tribute to them with a medley of the tracks “Sign of Evil Existence” by Rotting Christ, as well as “The Era of Satan Rising” by Thou Art Lord. But, even with this new direction fromt he band, there’s still some faults that can’t be helped, and some of the music isn’t all that inspiring at times, leaving this album to feel a little like a letdown for the fans that waited all those years for a new release, coming off more an album that’s good, but should have been better.
01. Alpha – 1:09
02. That Time is Nigh – 4:13
03. Theos Tou Aimatos – 4:27
04. We Are the Enemy – 3:20
05. The Last of Cursed Days – 5:55
06. Nature Our Slave – 5:07
07. Ruach Adversi – 3:56
08. This is Our Temple – 3:54
09. Sign of Evil Existence/The Era of Satan Rising (Rotting Christ cover/Thou Art Lord cover) – 3:18
10. House of War – 4:42
11. Omega – 0:50
|Overall Score: 6.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Pulverised Records via Earsplit PR.