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Kawir – Κυδοιμοσ

kawir – Κυδοιμοσ


The mediterranean nation of Greece has always been one of the most prolific when it comes to producing high quality Black Metal and Kawir is no exception to the rule. While they have never achieved the levels of fame that other acts like Rotting Christ or Varathron, they are stalwarts of the Hellenic Black Metal scene and have been refining their own brand of the style for the past 30 years. While the old adage of “the older albums are better” applies to many bands, Kawir has completely defied these expectations by spearheading a much more expansive, epic style of Hellenic Black Metal that combines soaring melodies and tasteful elements of native Folk elements to narrate tales from the rich lore of Greek mythology – sung in ancient Greek as well.

This sound the band has become known for began to form with the release of their 2008 album ‘Ophiolatreia’ and has continuously been improved in each subsequent album (I highly recommend ‘Εξιλασμός’ as one of the best Black Metal records of the past decade). Unfortunately, Kawir’s trajectory hit a standstill due to health complications of Therthonax, the principal songwriter of the band. Now that he has recovered from his ailment and brought some newer members in the fold, the band has made another spectacular record in the form of  ‘Κυδοιμοσ’ (Kydoimos).

As with past records, ‘Kydoimos’ deals with tales of ancient Greece, being a reference to one of the Makhai (ancient Greek daemons of war) – said to the be son of Eris, the god of Strife and the personification of warfare. With this deity as a base, it is not surprising the direction Therthonax and crew have taken with this record. Past Kawir albums have been extremely melodic and folkloric in nature, but the band have opted to veer into a much more savage and vicious direction here. The riffs are unrelenting and the pace of the music is a constant stream of aural violence from beginning to end, complimented by much more free flowing solo work that wouldn’t sound completely out of place on a Slayer album. This has been greatly complimented by the addition of a new drummer (Agisilaos) who delivers a never-ending stream of constant blast beats that feel as if they conjure the spectre of a battle. Even the vocals of long-time singer Porphyrion have taken a more aggressive and vicious tone in this record, sounding like a frenzied and bloodthirsty soldier in war.

This newfound appreciation for a more aggressive and in your face sound does not mean that the band has abandoned their trademark epic sound, but rather it has been more solidly woven within the fabric of this full length. This is evident throughout the course of the album – in songs such as ‘Hecatonchrides’ where there is a periodic interlude of traditional Greek wind instruments (presumably an Aulos). Another good example would be the backdrop of choral arrangements in ‘Myrmidon’, effectively giving the song an equally ominous but bombastic feeling. The only real break from the aggression can be seen with ‘Achilles Funeral’, the finale of a three parter about Achilles and a truly colossal track that is Kawir at its bone; one that has a long-form spoken word passage, larger-than-life twin guitar melodies and choral arrangements that ends in a blasting fury and glorious synthwork. A song that feels like fitting farewell to one of the greatest literary warriors of all time. As is customary with Kawir, the band sends off with a strong finishing number in the form of ‘War is the Father of All’, where both Iason and Therthonax shine with their elaborate melodic guitar work.

Long term fans of Kawir might be slightly taken aback with the new direction the band has adopted in ‘Kydoimos’, but make no mistake, it is undoubtedly still Kawir. While much more aggressive than previous records, the band have not lost the essence of what made them such a unique act within the Greek scene. I would even recommend this album to previous naysayers and skeptics of the band, as the band masterfully interlinks the fury and fervor of traditional Black Metal with an expansive and melodic sound that honours the old tales of which it tells through the songs.

Soulseller Records

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