Review: Elderblood “Achrony” [Drakkar Productions]

Review: Elderblood “Achrony” [Drakkar Productions]

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After five years of silence Ukrainian symphonic black metal formation has returned in hot summer of 2021 with their brand new LP Achrony which was released by BM-friendly Drakkar Productions (and also independently through bandcamp).

After leaving iconic Nokturnal Mortum ten years ago, multi-instrumentalist Astargh and drummer Odalv have decided to follow their own path. There are those who can hear evident traces of Nokturnal Mortum in this project, but some don’t even compare these two bands, after Ederblood has decided to move forward on their own terms. And if they have passion for worshiping Lucifer and an itchy need for an occult atmosphere, then bless them, because they do it so confidently and with a true devotion.

When first intro “Sparks” starts to ring, it seems like it’s time to prepare for another hour of traditional folk, but actually their pagan roots are almost forgotten, so we can savor the echoes of their past only in this intro. They have chosen to follow black metal code, respecting satanic spirit of the 1990s, as well as adorning it with epic and symphonic elements. But these symphonic patterns are not omnipresent; they are the mostly audible through the melodic and slightly theatrical choruses. So, no refined classical and over-ceremonial sophistications during Achrony, and despite the fact that they really play symphonic black metal, it is rather closer to atmospheric black metal scene (cold and piercing). And due to overloaded noisy guitars, sometimes there can be allusions to industrial influence (“Soot”) or some modern attitude (“Virgin Land Plowed over by Death” or “Sainthood’s Stench”). For the melodic reprieves we can appeal to romantic and medieval “Holy Plague”, but the last “The New Testament” invites us to ritualistic fields of subdued aggression.

Achrony isn’t too fast or too slow, it contains all the levels of speed – from thrash crazy breaks to sluggish passages, but mainly it is even mid-tempo. And of course, melodic lines soften a little bit the common sound of this album, reminding of old Satyricon and symphonic masterpieces of Dimmu Borgir. There are plenty of emotions and undisguised feelings, especially through the singing lines of ever present Astargh, who prefers to scream loudly, clearly and without limitations. However, notwithstanding the bunch of harmonic melodies and symphonic aura the guys from Elderblood still have balls for aggression and cold-blooded violence.

Elderblood isn’t a very prolific band to spilling the records left and right, only three full-length albums for ten-year long career. But they have always considered the best quality, so these long breaks are justified. The minimalistic black and white cover art nicely represents this perfect balance when the Christianity turns into Anti-Christianity, and the hanged man profanes the sacred meaning of the symbolic cross. And such is their music, balancing between aggression and melodies, darkness and atmosphere, modern and classic.

Release date: July 9th, 2021

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