Review: Drakon Ho Megas ”Έλευσις Αντίχριστου” [Floga Records]

Review: Drakon Ho Megas ”Έλευσις Αντίχριστου” [Floga Records]

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The Hellenic Drakon Returns

Drakon Ho Megas may be a fresh, uprising band from Greece, but their sound definitely is harking back to the Hellenic days of old, with classic Mediterranean black metal firing from all cylinders, albeit with a stronger emphasis on symphonic/choral elements.

Their self-titled debut album appeared on the scene just about one and a half years ago and I can definitely tell that Drakon Ho Megas meant to strike the iron while it’s still hot with this early 2023 release named Coming Of The Antichrist. Right from the start, there seems to be a stark focus on a more engrossing, grandiose production, pushing the material into darker pits and deeper circles of hell, adequate to the rather overt satanic themes presented.

Inevitably, there’re comparisons to be made with the subgenre’s evergreens; Kawir and early Varathron still seem to be important cornerstones in this band’s writing, but their distinct influences have been pushed back compared to the debut, as the symphonic components and chorals have increased their presence on many tracks. So did the variations in Lord Nero’s vocal range, who’s delivering a very pleasing, quite diverse palette of black metal pastry.

Unfortunately, this comes with a price…Coming of the Antichrist’s slight stylistic shift in their sound and the focus on overall professionalism has left some greater riff potential in the dust; while this CD shows a clear improvement on many fronts, there’s a certain lack of killer classic riffage that they had hinted at in the previous effort which is a shame because that’ll always be my #1 ingredient for Hellenic black metal enjoyment. The finest tracks on here excel in different areas, meaning the combination of said symphonic elements and dual-attack growling/male chorals work very well, especially when accompanied by deliberately understated melodic lead playing that’s unpretentiously widening the motifs whenever necessary. I just wish the rhythms were a little punchier to my gut, you know?

To avoid any misunderstanding though, these minor gripes and changes don’t affect my stance on this band at all: Drakon Ho Megas remains a promising new outfit from the Greek scene, but I can’t say I’m not slightly confused, yet intrigued about what their next steps are going to be.

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