Varathron – Untrodden Corridors of Hades (Agonia Records)Sunday, 25th January 2015
Greece’s Varathron are a long-lived black metal act formed in 1988. Over the years, their name has spread across the nations, I mean, it’s pretty easy to spot someone wearing a Varathron shirt at a black metal show, I’ve seen at least a dozen Varathron supporters over this last year. As a band, it seems they’ve relentlessly been on a mission to create the most Hades-raising, demon-evoking, mysterious and legendary black metal. Of course, trying to make the most or be the best of anything usually backfires on a musician. Though Varathron’s earlier albums have been called “the cornerstones of the Hellenic black metal stage,” their latest album, Untrodden Corridors of Hades, is less of a cornerstone and more like a chip off the old block.
The lyrics of “Kabalistic Invocation of Solomon” reveal the words of an ancient prayer said to invoke the demons and summon the gods of Solomon, this chant is better known as the Cabalistic Invocation of Solomon as seen in (one of my personal favorite books) the Doctrine of Transcendental Magic by French author, occultist, magician and kabbalist, Eliphus Levi. Any true transcendental magician is very aware that transcendental magic, as practiced by both Soloman and Levi, is a dangerous art. Varathron have more than tampered with these ancient powers, they’ve recorded and exposed a sacred ritual which, believe or not, is against the rules of Transcendental Magic. In the first chapter of his doctrine, Levi warns that “They killed or drove mad those who allowed themselves to be carried away by their honeyed eloquence or by the fame of their learning.” In regards to Varathron, what I’m concerned about is the fame. Are Varathron trying to reap fame from the ritual? For their sake, I certainly hope not.
“Arcane Conjuring” is another one of my favorite tracks on this album. I love the doomy intro and overall heaviness of the song. I regret to say it tires out quickly due to the overdramatic instrumentals and semi-cheesy chanting, as do several other tracks. These are the types of songs that seem really cool at first, and don’t get me wrong, they are to a degree, but I wouldn’t put them on my daily playlist.
Like many recent releases, Untrodden Corridors of Hades is good, just not as good as the band’s earlier work, which is always disappointing no matter what. Their musical approach expresses what they’re into, demonstrates their studies and exhibits their practices, but being over-the-edge “kvlt” is never advised, especially when some people aren’t following the rules of the practice they are preaching.