When it comes to Hellenic Black Metal I always expect something better than the average corpsepainted act doing the rounds. Bands like VARATHRON and NECROMANTIA always managed to conjure a highly mystical and exotic atmosphere through their music and even the more well known ROTTING CHRIST have produced material just a little more special than the norm. So, with a pretty unimaginative band name like DARK MESSIAH and cliché song-titles like “Religious Sheep” and “Antichristian Sins” I didn’t expect too much from this EP. My reservations were all in vein though…
DARK MESSIAH may not be the best example of Greek Black Metal but their relatively straightforward take on the aesthetic is not without merit. Their mid-paced brand of Black Metal (think a slower KULT OV AZAZEL or MORTUARY DRAPE) is laced with effective little tempo changes and suitably harsh, croaky vocals that made for an enjoyable listen. “Religious Sheep” storms out of the dungeon with an instantly memorable riff that is as biting as it is melodic. Not a bad way to kick off the EP! The following “Antichristian Sins” and “Black Storm Of Hate” are both straightforward numbers that slightly hint at Death Metal at places as well as some very tasty Doom touches (just listen to that slow break in the latter song). “Wrath Rules This World” is a thrashier number that won’t really grab the listener and the last song is a more mid-paced affair with a main riff that has a whiff of Middle Eastern-tinged melody to it.
Throughout they keep things brief and relatively simple, yet there’s a strange vibe permeating these five songs. The music has that unique Mediterranean ‘warmness’ to it but it also strongly reminds me of USBM acts like NOCTUARY and the aforementioned KULT OV AZAZEL. One moment it will come across as very organic and riff-heavy and the next the listener will discover subtle melodic nuances infused in the guitar playing. There’s even some rumbling bass on here! Vocals alternate between a slight growl and the more orthodox croak, and the production is adequate.
Overall this EP pleasantly surprised me, especially in terms of the riffs and the variations in tempo throughout. There’s definitely more going on here than meets the ear… A fair amount of work seems to have gone into this EP and it shows in the final product. There are even some not-so-friendly words for BALTAK in the liner notes (for those not in the know, BALTAK is an extreme anti-Greece band from Macedonia).
I can definitely see this EP win some ‘demo/EP of the month’ awards in a few Metal magazines out there!
The Dark Messiah spoke, I listened, and I liked!!! Yee-haw!!!
Or something like that….
(Online June 8, 2007)