Varathron - Crowsreign review


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Band: Varathron
Album: Crowsreign
Release date: 2004

01. Evil Gets An Upgrade
02. There Is No God
03. The Grim Palace
04. Darkness Falling
05. Creation Of Satan
06. The Sign Of Eternal Curse
07. A Vision Of A Nameless Soul
08. Emerging From The Immortals
09. The King Of Asine
10. Spirit Of The Tomb
11. Angel Of Revenge

For all of you who think that Rotting Christ formed the sound of the Greek black metal scene you should know that they didn't form this sound alone. The bands that formed this scene unique from the Norwegian sound were two: Rotting Christ and Varathron. Two bands that started together during the second half of the 80s and with their demos/splits/7" and their debut albums, "Thy Mighty Contract" (Rotting Christ) and "His Majesty At The Swamp" (Varathron), gave birth to the Greek black Metal scene. Rotting Christ happened to be the "lucky" ones and sign a contract with renowned labels Osmose Productions (a cult name for the rising underground extreme metal scene at that time) and later, after a small passage from the Greek Unisound Records, Century Media. Varathron didn't have the chance to sign contracts with labels that would give them the chance to be equally well-known, something they deserve.

Varathron released "The Lament of Gods" back in 1998 but due to distance and other problems it remained under the ice in silence. Years were passing by and Necroabyssious brought the band back to life having on his side Varathron's original keyboardist, Bill Crazy Wizard, and two new members who are willing to work hard, Achilleas and Haris. They now come together with a brand new remarkable release: "Crowsreign."

"Crowsreign," the reign of the crow and thus the carrier of souls, starts flying upon you as its sounds echo in the misty darkness. If you are expecting something like "Walpurgisnacht" or "His Majesty at the Swamp," I am sorry to disappoint you, but Varathron do not intend to go back to their roots. They now take their sound many steps forward, presenting us, as a come-back, a dynamite album balancing the dream (orchestral pieces) and the aggression (the metal side), a characteristic of Varathron's history.

The guitars are more heavy-metal oriented than ever reaching at times the borders of speed/power metal. The new guitarist, Achilleas, shows what he's made of (of course riffs and ideas that bring forth memories of the early days of the band are present).
Some old Varathron fans were disappointed by this. As for me, if you want my opinion, I really don't care since their ideas are utterly inspired! Something that also disappointed many old Varathron fans was the fact that Necroabyssious' vocals have become brutal, unlike on their first two releases. Again, I don't find anything wrong with that since Necroabyssious keeps on proving what a great interpreter he is, whether he grunts, whispers or recites in dismay and paranoia! The drumming is raging at times, marching at others or just accompanying whenever its sound is needed to harmonize with the fragile orchestrations lending groove to the album. Next we reach the keyboard melodies and the orchestrations that make the atmosphere of "Crowsreign" unique and various. Bill, the keyboardist, must be indeed a Crazy Wizard! Just listen to the album and you'll get what I mean! His inspiration seems endless and his ideas are utterly elegiac and inspired leaving you there in the corner wondering of how such inspiration can dwell in the labyrinths of the Crazy Wizard's mind.

"Crowsreign" is a real masterpiece and Varathron didn't have to show or prove who they are, we know and we hail them! Fabulous, beautiful instrumental pieces like "Spirit of the Tomb" and "Emerging from the Immortals" unfold their dreamy and affected melodies which transport you. The guitars, keyboards, orchestrations and Necroabyssious' vocals harmonize in fabulous and inspired ways together. They give us monumental songs like the 12-minute opus "King of Asine" with its lyrics being a poem of the renowned Greek poet/writer George Seferis; "There is No God" which paces lyrically with "Evil Gets An Upgrade," the opener of the album, "talking about the nightmarish search of knowledge and memories of a demented who suddenly realizes in dismay that his god doesn't exist" (Necroabyssious). They give us "Angel of Revenge" with the fabulous guitar riffing and the distressed keyboard melodies talking about Lucifer, the almighty Fallen Angel and Brightest Star. Finally, the utterly atmospheric piece "Darkness Falling" which evokes the tranquility of a gentle nightfall, "The Grim Palace" and many other fabulous songs!

"Crowsreign" is a brilliant album; if you adore extreme metal harmonizing with symphonic orchestrations and a dramatic sense, "Crowsreign" should become a part of your collection!


Written on 09.06.2005 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."


Comments: 3   Visited by: 42 users
17.06.2006 - 17:22
Indeed, great album but nothing better than His Majesty at the Swamp..
give praise for the blood it bled,
grant a rose for the dead...
06.05.2007 - 12:34
Its a great album and if the reviewer agrees why the 7.7? I think that a 9 is more appropriate for Crowsreign. Its great in every aspect except the vocals.
06.12.2011 - 12:57
A few bands in the late 80s established the black metal scene. the leading 2 were varathron with rotting christ.
varathron indeed were unlucky to sign a contract with a bigger company. its because they have more to give that they exist..

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