Archemoron - Sulphur and Fire - (7/10)
Published on August 11, 2015
Sulphur and Fire is the sophomore release from Greek death/black metal act Archemoron. The band was originally known as Ancestor between 1999 and 2008, releasing only a demo and a lone full length before changing their moniker to its current incantation. The band’s debut full length under this name, Spiritual Transcendence, was released in 2011. Sulphur and Fire, released in June of 2015, brings a little of bit of everything to the mix, while still retaining that authentic Greek sound.
The band’s sound pulls at the fringes of several Greek metal traditions, without fully committing to any of them; modern extreme metal touches, classic Hellenic theatrics and melodic, pulsing riffing. Most of the music surges along in the vein of modern SepticFlesh, with a strong focus on heavy handed chugging and militant paced blackened death metal. The grating, distorted growls that serve as vocals fit nicely during these moments of crushing heaviness, but where Archemoron excels is during the moments Hellenic grandeur, calling to mind the earlier output of Rotting Christ or Varathron. The focus on pulsing notes encircled by minor key melodies and sweeping, overarching movements brings that theatrical atmosphere in all its glory.
Unfortunately though, Archemoron doesn’t stick to one side of the equation for very long. The result is a rather choppy, frenetic listen, bouncing between the more modern sounding militant approach and the sweeping melodies. A few passages are linked together with fiery, second wave trem riffing and blasting drums, but it feels rushed; as if the band linked pieces together as an afterthought. Regardless, the music is dark and heavy and there are plenty of solid riffs and passages hidden throughout.
Sulphur and Fire suffers from a bit of bloat, as the almost seventy minute run time could probably have been cut down considerably. The balance of somewhat modern extreme metal and majestic, sweeping black metal is striking, but the transitions between the two sound extremely forced. A stronger focus on the pulsing melodies of the Hellenic scene could prove fruitful for Archemoron, as I can’t help but feel the music is so much more powerful during these segments. Despite the minor flaws, Sulphur and Fire has enough raging fire please fans of the Greek scene.