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CHARON
CHARON
Sulphur Seraph (The Archon Principle)
(Sepulchral Voice Records)
38:10min

Blasphemy, particularly of the Christian faith, is an old, but far from tired theme in Metal. Germany’s CHARON continue this proud tradition on their debut album, “Sulphur Seraph (The Archon Principle)". A look at the cover, a corruption of an early Middle Age religious painting, and you know you’re in for an album of Biblical proportions. Opening after the introduction track, the self-titled snakes into being. ‘Sulphur Seraph’ has the furious black speed and sinister discordance of FUNERAL MIST, and the Death Metal stylings of bands such as DEAD CONGREGATION. The result? Well, nothing further need be said save that it’s a masterful song. Ending on a drawn-out note, ‘Sulphur Seraph’ feeds into (or perhaps falls, in keeping with the blasphemous themes) ‘Flagellum Horribilis (Trident Lash).’ Contrasted with the preceding song, ‘Flagellum Horribilis’ firmly announces itself as a Death Metal song, in the dirgy, dingy, dank dungeon style of DISMA and FUNEBRARUM. For the record, it’s my humble opinion that ‘Flaggelum’ might be the best track on the album. The infernal, desolate, atmosphere and sepulchral vocals are pure Death Metal, and a real treat to hear. The style shifts back to that of the first track on ‘Ambassador Of Bonds’ but still with an abundance of Death Metal to satiate the fiercest of appetites. And although it clocks in as the shortest song on the album next to the intro and outro, ‘The Weapon’ has a crunchy, thrashy vibe to it that reminds one of the close relationship all styles of extreme Metal share with Thrash, which as we know, once ruled Earth with an iron fist. The thing that I find makes this album interesting is the way in which the guitars, vocals, and bass, resolve and swirl around the drums. It has the effect of conveying the sense of spiralling aimlessly in a dark vortex - a whirlwind to Hell. Turning back to the small Thrash influence I noticed earlier, ‘Key To Nowhere’ similarly exhibits a Thrash influence, but mainly in the vocal patternings at the start of the song. The rest returns us to the Black / Death hybrid of previous songs, but this time with a few brief, but tastefully placed, stop-and-go breaks. Finally, the longest song of the album, which funnily enough sports the longest name as well, rounds out this most unholy of albums. ‘Solution... Averse’ (I took the liberty of abbreviating) conveys a somewhat different feeling than its brother songs. Rather than the vortex feel I mentioned earlier, ‘Solution… Averse’ recalls the cathedral-like majesty of bands such as FUNERAL MIST, WATAIN, and perhaps even DEATHSPELL OMEGA. One has the feeling of staring up at the constellations through a hole in the ruined stained glass image of Jesus and Mary. A fantastic album; atmospheric and potent. www.sepulchralvoice.de

Nathan Shapiro

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