Rating:
8.5
Kawir - Isotheos
11 October 2012


01. Daemon
02. Hymn To Winds
03. To Demeter
04. Hymn To Apollo
05. Hail Bacchus
06. Hades
07. Isotheos
08. Panspermia [instrumental]


Being as it is that a large majority of black metal bands are Scandinavian, whenever you find a black metal band that chooses a particular ancient culture to write about, chances are good that said culture is going to be Scandinavian. Ya know, "Hail Odin, may I be taken to Asgard and dwell forever in Valhalla after my death" kinda stuff. It's cool, but can get a bit cliche real quick. So, wanting something a little different, I recently began looking for black metal bands that take the same approach to their Pagan celebrations, yet with a different culture. One such band I've discovered this year are Greece's Kawir, who write primarily about (was it difficult to guess?) Greek mythology. Now this isn't some kinda cheesy, Manowar-esque mythology worship: a band writing about war gods and battles simply because it goes hand in hand with their masculine image. No, with Kawir, as is hinted immediately by Isotheos's cover, it's all about the aesthetics. Led by Thertonax (aka Mentor), Kawir is proud of its Greek heritage and not afraid to show you, and by the album's end, the band's ascent to Mount Olympus has indeed been reached.

Part of what makes Isotheos such an enjoyable listen is that Kawir keep to mostly mid-paced tempos throughout the album's duration. Granted, a few moments of a more aggressive black metal sound pop up here and there (the beginning of "Hymn To Winds," for example), but for the most part the blitzkrieg wall-of-sound technique that many black metal bands typically make use of isn't there. While this approach may not exactly sound good on paper, it contributes greatly to the album's impact on the listener, because the fact that the paces of the tracks are more relaxed allows more room to fully absorb Kawir's riffs and overall song structures. Indeed, there are many melodies on Isotheos that can easily get stuck in your head after a few listens (not the most common feature of black metal), such as the outro riff on "Hymn To Winds," the chants on "Hail Bachhus," and the flute melody in the middle of "To Demeter." Some people may view this technique negatively as being a more accessible approach than is tolerable for black metal, but in the end, it makes the music catchy, and a band having a hook to its songwriting is never a bad thing.

All in all, Isotheos is a great contribution to black metal's sound from a relatively obscure band. The catchiness of the riffs, the harmonic vocal chants reminiscent of Viking-era Bathory, and the ambience of the flute and keyboards all come together in quite the interesting formula. I know that "fun" isn't exactly the term one would use to describe black metal, but the music Kawir create on Isotheos truly is, and it's really not that difficult to picture a large Greek phalanx indulging in celebratory goblets of wine and other ecstasies after a huge battle victory while listening to it. Warm, epic, and inviting, with a splash of originality: that's the atmosphere the music on this album creates. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out. Zeus will never forgive you if you don't.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 8


 



Written on 23.11.2012 by
Apothecary
"Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you"
-Carl Jung
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Susan - 23.11.2012 at 19:34  
Sweet. I am definitely checking this out. Love me some Viking mythology but the Greeks have some bad ass characters of their own! And who doesn't need some "fun" in their black metal from time to time? I know I do
gneman - 24.11.2012 at 08:14  
Very nice review!! Very enjoyable album indeed....I have to add that most of the lyrics are written in ancient greek.That sure is unique!
meshuggnerd - 30.11.2012 at 01:45  
Whatever happened to Kronos? That was also some great death metal about Greek mythology although I think they are from France.
enumaelis - 12.12.2012 at 17:30  
They remind me to Forefather, one of my favourite bands, so I think completely enjoyable album for Pagan-Black fans

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