The Hellenic Drakon Rises…
Although Drakon Ho Megas have only been formed about a year ago, they surely don’t sound like a bunch of amateurs worshiping at the altar of by now ancient bands like Kawir, Rotting Christ, Varathron, and other classic Hellenic outfits.
While these influences are definitely strong, these Greeks have found a niche of their own in this climate, leaving the classic heavy metal-influenced backbone of the Hellenic black metal riff out of the equation more often than not. Instead, you’ll see Drakon Ho Megas implement a stronger symphonic approach, without them castrating the heaviness or making similar sacrifices in the process.
Thankfully, said symphonic elements are never overbearing, nor do they kill off the momentum that’s turbocharged by nicely crafted tremolo-picked melodies (showing the influence of both the Scandinavian open-chord abrasiveness and the more palm-muted, single note-melodies that emit much warmer, Mediterranean vibes) and an uncommonly awesome-sounding drum machine that has clearly not been programmed at Storm Studios sometime in the last century. Sound quality remains a positive aspect with this release, since the production sits firmly somewhere between old-school choices (the razor-esque guitar tone, as well as the symphonic elements and the overall “cavernous” reverb, feel lovably dated) and the benefits of modern technology, as there’s a great balance between every instrument with the mid-range harsh vocals sitting on top of the mix nicely.
The memorability of said riffs is not always top-tier level but mostly solid with a few grandiose exceptions at hand, most notably the closing track (not counting the ambient outro, which doesn’t feel like a discrete song) “ΔΡΑΚΩΝ Ο ΜΕΓΑΣ”. Due to aptly placed tempo and riff-variations, it manages to offer the catchiest writing and some of the finest symphonic sections on this record, perfectly closing a pretty damn great debut CD. If a marriage between Limbonic Art‘s “Moon in the Scorpio” and Kawir‘s “Eumenides”-EP is your thing, be sure to check this band out. I’ll most certainly be following this promising outfit from now on.
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