“The Law of Seven Deaths came into existence to provoke those who dare to take the inner journey. The one to the uncontrolled liberation of subconscious energies.” So reads the bold press release put out upon the release of Akrotheism’s second full-length “The Law of Seven Deaths”. Sounding nothing at all like the typical Greek black metal you may be used to, this Athens-based quintet instead go for a sound steeped in mysticism, in experimentation and in brutality, scaling vast ice walls previously formed by bands like Blut Aus Nord and Svartidaudi at their absolute best.
While it is always easy to name drop bands when reviewing black metal releases it has to be said that Akrotheism do have a sound that is their own. Each of the seven tracks featured on “The Law of Seven Deaths” meander through a hallucinatory trajectory where dissonance is king and atmosphere is everything, disorientating the listener with layers of slithering guitar work, hypnotic rhythms and a vocal performance that is second to none. Opening proceedings with the blasting “Typhonian Serpents”, Akrotheism waste no time in relaying their foul intent. Tremolo-picked guitars and well-placed keyboards rise and fall on top of the militant drum work, creating an impenetrable wall of bleakness that is lifted only by passages of doom-ladden ambient swells. Continuing this path with the hypnotic “Manifesting Tartarus” and “Desmotropia”, it becomes clear that this album is definitely going to take a few spins to get your head around, such is the depth and scope of the material on offer.
The one downside to “The Law of Seven Deaths” is that with an average track length of around eight minutes there is just so much to take in it can become a little bit overwhelming and a lot to stomach in one sitting. While claustrophobia is most likely the aim of the game here, I feel that with better use of space and time for the listener to reflect would make the experience all the more affective. Nevertheless, this is still a great album and will be interesting to see what the band will come up with next. (DaveW)