Dark, diabolical, and majestic while taking a fresh look into 90’s Greek Black Metal with a nostalgia of the past and a twist into the future. That’s what these infernal veterans have to offer in their newborn spawn.
Forged in the fires of Athens, Greece in 2019 by bassist Jim Mutilator, a founding member of legendary Greek Black Metal band Rotting Christ, and vocalist The Magus, who formed Necromantia in 1989 together with Baron Blood (R.I.P.), one of the most influential and avantgarde bands of the scene, Hellenic Black Metal outfit Yoth Iria is an amalgam of the influences and visions of its creators, sounding dark, diabolical, emotional, powerful and majestic while taking a fresh look into 90’s Greek Occult Black Metal with a nostalgia of the past and a twist into the future. Now in 2021, the duet which developed and pioneered the underground scene back in the day is ready to crush our souls with their first full-length album, titled As The Flame Withers. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Pentagram Studio by Yoth Iria and George Emmanuel (Rotting Christ, Septicflesh, Lucifer’s Child), and displaying a Stygian artwork by Indian artist Harshanand Singh, As The Flame Withers represents everything this primeval entity stands for, supported by guest musicians George Emmanuel on the guitars, John Patsouris on keys and J.V. Maelstrom (Dephosphorus, Nigredo) on drums, dragging the listeners into the pits of the underworld and keeping them there forever in pitch black darkness.
The Children of Bodom-inspired riffage by George kicks of the melodic and infernal The Great Hunter, bringing to our ears old school Norwegian Black Metal blended with the epicness of Behemoth and Rotting Christ, whereas mesmerizing, imposing sounds permeate the air in the insane title-track Yoth Iria, showcasing beyond obscure lyrics growled by The Magus (“For aeons he laid dormant / speaking through dreams / conspiring in visions / watching from his Throne / Arch-Priest and King / of the Seven Hells / The Highest of Angels / the Brightest of them all”) while his bandmates keep the atmosphere as heavy and somber as possible. Then it’s time for George and Jim to slash their respective guitar and bass in the very melodious but of course heavy-as-hell Hermetic Code, a very atmospheric creation by the band offering our ears a good dosage of Doom Metal added to their core ferocity; and arising from the pits of the underworld like a demonic entity, The Magus and Jim bring forward Demonaz-inspired vocalizations and dirty, rumbling bass lines in The Mantis, with the background keys by John Patsouris sounding insanely epic while J.V. Maelstrom hammers his drums mercilessly.
In the excellent The Red Crown Turns Black we face more of their blasphemous lyrics (“From the deserts of Saturn / and the depths of the Abyss / the General of Chaos / the Devourerof Souls”) while the music sounds like a demonic fusion of Behemoth, Immortal and Children of Bodom, with George being once again sensational with his wicked riffs and solos, and rocking guitars and classic beats ignite the Stygian extravaganza titled Unborn, Undead, Eternal, reminding me of some of the most recent creations by Rotting Christ, with The Magus gnarling like a creature from the netherworld nonstop. The second to last explosion of their Ritualistic Black Metal comes in the form of Tyrants, where The Magus’ roars are effectively supported by the hellish kitchen by Jim and Maelstrom, resulting in another doomed, thunderous aria blasted by this talented Greek horde, while Jim continues to smash his bass in the closing tune The Luciferian, accompanied by the grim guitars by George. Once again blending old school Black Metal with Doom Metal and more contemporary styles, the song unfortunately loses its grip after a while, albeit nothing that could do any harm to such powerful album.
In the end, As The Flame Withers, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube, is exactly what such prominent duo from the Greek Black Metal scene is saying the album is, an ode to the early days of the genre without sounding outdated, tiresome nor bland at all. Hence, if you want to explore their obscure realm in more detail and stay updated with all things Yoth Iria, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course purchase your copy of As The Flame Withers from the Pagan Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (including the CD and black LP versions of the album), as well as from Record Shop X. It’s indeed a true pleasure witnessing two trailblazers of the Greek Black Metal scene generating such infernally dark music with so much punch and potency even after all these decades on the road, proving once again extreme music can be a true fountain of youth for many, while the flames of Black Metal keep burning the souls of the unbelievers for all eternity.
Best moments of the album: Yoth Iria, The Mantis and The Red Crown Turns Black.
Worst moments of the album: The Luciferian.
Released in 2021 Pagan Records
1. The Great Hunter 4:24
2. Yoth Iria 5:41
3. Hermetic Code 6:34
4. The Mantis 7:19
5. The Red Crown Turns Black 6:26
6. Unborn, Undead, Eternal 5:14
7. Tyrants 4:51
8. The Luciferian 6:32
The Magus – vocals
Jim Mutilator – bass
George Emmanuel – guitars (session)
John Patsouris – keys (session)
J.V. Maelstrom – drums (session)