Album Review – Benthik Zone / εἴδωλον (2022)

A celebration of the beauty of metamorphosis and hybridism in the form of first-class Atmospheric Black Metal made in Portugal.

Hailing from Porto, a coastal city in northwest Portugal, the Atmospheric Black Metal duo Benthik Zone is back with more of their fusion of experimental, atmospheric and progressive sounds with their third full-length opus, entitled εἴδωλον, which is Greek for “eidolon”. Establishing a parallel between classical antiquity and contemporaneity by creating a poetic dialogue with various myths, stories speaking about fabulous creatures, humans and gods, the album celebrates the beauty of metamorphosis and hybridism, which goes from the human being to the vegetal and animal life but carries the weight of that transition process and its consequences in the bodies of the “εἴδωλον” characters. “Beyond this interesting convergence between the term εἴδωλον and the culmination of the myth (Actaeon) from which we were inspired, it was perceived that in general terms the meaning of particular interest to us, in the context of this album, was that of a spectre, ghost, that has been vexing us at every stage of our work,” commented the duo formed of vocalist A. Leão and multi-instrumentalist F. Braga, who together with guest G. Correia are offering us all an even more elaborate, twisted and expansive concept album of Atmospheric Black Metal that keeps their sound evolving in myriad mysterious and compelling ways.

The disruptive, atmospheric intro Atravesso o Portal Mítico (“I go through the mythical portal”) will drag you to the unique world of Benthik Zone, setting the stage for E Embriagado pelo Reflexo (“and intoxicated by the reflection”), an Extra-Terrestrial Atmospheric Black Metal journey spearheaded by the strident riffage by F. Braga while A. Leão fires hellish gnarls from start to finish, presenting the most primeval elements of old school Black Metal until everything fades into an acoustic, naturalistic passage halfway through it, again exploding into a sea of obscurity and experimentations for our vulgar delectation. After such demolishing start to the album we’re treated to Sonho-a Desnuda (“I dream of her naked”), another eerie, ethereal creation by the duo that starts in an mesmerizing manner, and that Stygian ambience goes on for over three minutes until crushing beats and disruptive sounds invade our ears in a lesson in Experimental Black Metal.

A. Correia and F. Braga generate a beyond captivating ambience with their instruments in Na Iluminação do Presente (“in the lighting of the present”), all spiced up by the cryptic vocalizations by A. Leão in an insane and pulverizing display of Atmospheric Black Metal, flowing into the cinematic interlude Qual Espectro (“which spectrum”), which will pierce our minds before we face Da Zona Perdida no Tempo (“from the zone lost in time”), an explosion of the duo’s blackened sounds exhaling creativity and darkness while exploring new sounds. Furthermore, G. Correia adds his share of lunacy to the music with his wicked instruments, resulting in a sonic attack without a single second of peace. Lastly, closing the album it’s time for 11 minutes of primeval and obscure sounds in Imenso Abismo do Reino Submerso (“immense abyss of the sunken kingdom”), where tribal, esoteric beats are intertwined with eccentric instruments such as the didgeridoo, generating a hypnotizing, idiosyncratic Atmospheric Black Metal experience not recommended for the lighthearted while also ending in an absolute Stygian fashion.

If you have what it takes to face the 47 minutes of experimentations, progressiveness and obscurity brought into being by Benthik Zone in the form of εἴδωλον, you can enjoy the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and also start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates. However, above all that, in order to show your true support and admiration for those Portuguese metallers you should definitely purchase a copy of their newborn beast from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Onism Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore, from Apple Music, or from Amazon. As already mentioned, the album celebrates the beauty of metamorphosis and hybridism, and there’s nothing more appropriate than the Atmospheric Black Metal by Benthik Zone to properly showcase all that beauty in darkness and chaos.

Best moments of the album: E Embriagado pelo Reflexo and Imenso Abismo do Reino Submerso.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Onism Productions

Track listing
1. Atravesso o Portal Mítico 2:01
2. E Embriagado pelo Reflexo 8:28
3. Sonho-a Desnuda 8:10
4. Na Iluminação do Presente 7:59
5. Qual Espectro 1:53
6. Da Zona Perdida no Tempo 7:28
7. Imenso Abismo do Reino Submerso 11:27

Band members
A. Leão – vocals, didgeridoo
F. Braga – guitars, bass, drum programming, backing vocals

Guest Musician
G. Correia – transverse flute, berimbau, hangpan, flute

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