Review: Kawir “Adrasteia” [Iron Bonehead]

Review: Kawir “Adrasteia” [Iron Bonehead]

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90 %
User Rating : 4.1 (1 votes)

When a band like Kawir has been consistently producing music since 1993 (this being their eighth full-length release in that time, amidst innumerable EPs, compilation appearances and splits, punctuated by a fair number of lineup changes), reviewing any of their output carries a heavy responsibility towards the legacy they have crafted in that time. This Greek collective definitely deserve that respect out of the gate, and on Αδράστεια (Adrasteia) it is most definitely not misplaced: this record is a delight, a dynamic blend of Hellenic black metal melodic sensitivity and pagan vigour. On top of that, it is a celebration of one of the richest mythologies human civilization has ever graced us with – and in an age where admiration for what has gone before is sadly lost in the ephemera of instant gratification, any tribute to the legends of classical history is one to be prized.

Musically speaking, Adrasteia deserves respect for its careful and technically accomplished melodic content. While the majority of the big players in the Hellenic extreme metal circles (Rotting Christ, Dødsferd, Zemial…) share some stylistic characteristics in their appreciation for clever lead melodies and unexpected harmonics, while still incorporating traditional Grecian influences, Kawir take this further by building on a foundation of old-school heavy metal fundamentals: notably the effective use of twin leads as pioneered by NWOBHM legends like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. The power of this same base building block comes into effect in the density of the atmospheres Kawir generate while somehow never losing the essential heaviness and drive of the music. Danaides, for example, is a non-stop metal assault, but the empathy with which it is arranged makes that same assault welcome and even catchy, rather than exhausting or painful.

Other highlights on Adastreia include the tasteful use of choral passages (on Tydeus and Colchis, particularly) and folk instruments – a staple in Hellenic extreme metal and one of the stand-out characteristics separating the Mediterranean spectrum from, for example, the Scandinavian. Liminiades makes especially sensitive use of this technique, delivering a final result that borders on power metal in grandiose scale. Similarly, the album closer, Medea, is an epic presentation; made more so by the feminine counterpoint in the vocals. The net result is a stirring experience – as much celebratory as it is ceremonial in flavor.

If you were to combine all the visceral necro energy of the likes of Archgoat, offset by the soothing folk melodies of Falkenbach’s ilk, you may end up with something approaching what Kawir achieve on Adrasteia. Over a quarter of a century of dedication to their craft has resulted in what can only be described as a textbook case study in pagan black metal.

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