Release Date: May, 2014
Label: Acherontas Promotions (CD) / Floga Records & Ill Damnation Productions (LP/Tape)
There are times when simplicity and straightforwardness of some people and situations creates the strongest bonds. In our case, bonds between listener/receiver and an artistic creation. EMPIRE OF THE MOON (re-)appeared in the forefront and, without noise and big words, they offered us a foretaste with the magnificent “Psychomanteion” track; then they worked with patience for the completion of their full length album. They gave it the minimal yet sublime name “Panselinos” (= full moon) and released it through Acherontas Promotions label (CD version, the other two are coming in December).
And what about the content? It could not differ of course. The coven of Ravenlord Wampyri Draconium (CHAOSBAPHOMET, formerly TATIR), Ouroboros and S. V. Mantus (WAMPYRINACHT) -with the help of Nick Yngve on drums- brings forward once again the version of old Hellenic blackmetal sound, namely the one that filtered its 80s metal roots, only keeping its robust form, the dark side and the uncanny feeling. It does not necessarily take for one to chaotically scratch the guitar strings or pound the drums mercilessly in order to produce extreme and morbid music. Sometimes the shadowy lyricism, like the one that surfaces during the intro of “Lunar Apocalypse” and soaks the whole song flowing with exalting mid-tempo riffing, is the aspect that gifts EMPIRE OF THE MOON’s blackmetal with a multi-level transcendental meditation.
The magnificent fact of these (not common) releases is that to try to define them, one searches for a reference point (“they sound like…”) yet he or she hardly finds any. If I could provide something to begin with, I would say that it is a creation whose spirit (beware! the spirit…) is among the closest I’ve heard to that of old NECROMANTIA. And since NECROMANTIA are –for me at least– one of the most serious acts ever to emerge in the international music map, this is a medal of honor among the elite. “Panselinos” is the love for old metal sound, without showoffs, caricatures and easy fun (we have to understand at some point that not everything has to be about fun). It is the consolidation of a distinctive flow between songs within a record that transforms it to a unity, a vortex which intensifies the listening experience (how brilliant is the transition from the acoustic outro of “Psychomanteion” to the infernal intro of “Nine Skulls Of Kali” –a special mention here for the subtle yet perfectly embedded keys from Mantus). It is the quest and the success for grandiosity as the 15 minutes of the above mentioned “Nine Skulls…” opus pass like a moment in time.
Finally, it is the texts that accompany the music of this release (which, if there is any justice, should be considered as one of the most important among the domestic scene in recent years), where the worship towards the primordial female nature prevails with the invocations of the triptych Tiamat/Kali/Luna. In plain words, with subtlety and far away from trendy, wannabe-occult philippics. If the term “majestic” hadn’t known such a decline from bands that used it to describe their flamboyant garbage, I would say that “Panselinos” is the definition of majestic straightforwardness (contradictory but true). In any case, it is the current year’s record that should involve all those who argue that Hellenic blackmetal of the early 90s was (and indeed it was) one of the best things that happened to this music.