Acherontas : Ma-IoN (Formulas of Reptilian Unification)

Ma-IoN2015 : W.T.C. Productions 
Format : CD

Acherontas should need no introduction as a band at this point in time. Arisen from the ashes of Stutthof, Acherontas comes forth as a snake shedding its skin and offers their fifth full-length album, “Ma-IoN (Formulas of Reptilian Unification).” The album is a lengthy journey through twisting dream worlds with a handful of brilliant ambient pieces that draw the listener further and further into its dark tunnels. For as much as Acherontas is considered a Black Metal band I really think “Ma-IoN” seems to transcend (intentionally or not) many of the stereotypes that have led to the decline of other artists within the genre.

In a strange way it feels like a much larger ritualistic set piece. I can’t say any one specific track stood out more than another. The songs flow together seamlessly. This isn’t a bad thing; in fact, I feel that it’s great. It forces the listeners to immerse themselves in the entire offering at hand as missing any part of the album or singling out a selected track feels awkward and incomplete. As with all of Acherontas’ material, the symbolism is immense and the songwriting is simply superb. Emme Ya once again lends his phenomenal visual and musical talents to the band alongside a host of other familiar contributors such as Black Seas of Infinity, Nebiros (Malign), T.T. (Abigor), Indra (Naer Mataron), as well as several others. These artists are without a doubt masters of their respective crafts and each bring something unique to the album. I don’t think I’ve seen so much variation on a metal record in an incredibly longtime. I suppose in some ways this may be a turn off for a few individuals, as perhaps maybe they’d feel there’s too much going on. While I agree it’s overwhelming to keep track of who does what, the “who” isn’t really as relevant as much as the “what” (the music that is).

The opening hymn, “Fires of Prometheus” immediately lays the atmosphere upon the listener. It’s immediately followed by a five and a half minute trip through the powerful and metallic track, “Nereid Tide of Neptune’s Rudra.” Some of the later songs have more than a ten-minute run time on them with the entire recording totaling in at about an hour or so in length. It’s definitely a lot of material to digest and as usual I had to take a bit of time with it in order to soak in the vibe.

The album’s strongest aspect in my opinion is its presentation of various eastern and other foreign instrumentation alongside varied vocal styles that introduce concepts of dreaming and meditation to a modern culture that may not have been immediately receptive to it. I feel that the previous effort, “Amenti” did this to a similar degree but the presence wasn’t quite as massive as it is here on “Ma-IoN.” Even if you aren’t as keyed into some of the lyrical concepts presented there’s still quite a bit that can be attained from spending ample time with this one. In many ways these elements bring a progressive feel to the table that is similar to what other artists like Hetroertzen and Dødsengel are doing. As I’ve said in previous reviews, I will always applaud any artist who dares to set a higher standard for themselves and experiement with new things. Acherontas continues to evolve in a rather graceful way. I’m eagerly anticipating new material from the coven.

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