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Over the years, a plethora of great bands has emerged from the Canadian scene, be it classic Thrash Metal or filthy warlike Death / Black Metal and it seems this steady flow of quality acts is not about to stop anytime soon. The debut album released by Victoria-based MITOCHONDRION came as a huge surprise to me. Despite the groups monicker which would fit a more modern technical Death Metal band as well, "Archaeaeon" certainly draws upon the Canadian tradition of chaotic and violent Black / Death Metal, yet aiming at something different, having influences ranging from Death / Doom, "classic" dark North American Death Metal as well as dreamy / psychedelic passages merging into long and monstrous songs. The first real song, 'Into The Pit Of Babel' kicks off as a brutal and dark piece of Death Metal until it fades into a spherical interlude introduced by timpani at the 3:32 mark, resembling shoegaze acts or even PINK FLOYD (to give you an idea), which then slowly builds up again to a more disharmonic riff with some off-beat accentuated rhythm to finally return to the pace the beginning, all that in nine minutes. With such an opener it is clear that this is no album which can be digested easily or immediately and indeed "Archaeaeon" comes across as a black, chaotic trip with many different angles. Besides the musical leanings which seem to range from for example old MORBID ANGEL and INCANTATION, CONQUEROR (some similar breaks with pick-sliding can be heard e.g.) as well as WORMPHLEGM or maybe DISEMBOWELMENT the vocals also are rather varied as one can find screams, whispers as well as very low, almost gutturals which are rather seldomly heard in other acts being somewhat tied to bestial Black / Death Metal. What has to be mentioned is the use of leads to add various moods and layers to the songs. The percussion delivery also is everything else than simple or straight forward. While it is true that there is plenty of blasting and high speed parts, fills and variations are abundant - 'Infernal Weapons Summons' even features gravity blasts. With "Archaeaeon", MITOCHONDRION released a fascinating piece of very varied, captivating, packed yet at the same time violent, epic, technical, atmospheric, ritualistic, chaotic and obscure Black / Death Metal not caring about any possible stylistical and / or musical borders or rules. Admittedly, with more than 70 minutes this album is maybe a bit too long and at parts demanding taking into consideration some song's lengths (from three minutes to the fourteen-minutes closer '137') and the many details the compositions are packed with but for people fond of more ambitous foryas into the realm of Black and Death Metal should enjoy this slab. Considering the fact that this debut has been self produced by the band, the overall sound is good, the guitars could have been slightly heavier but this is nothing too grave in my opinion. "Archaeaeon", is sold out from the band but it should still be available in several underground distros. In case this review piqued your interest, you can find download links for the two demos at the band's myspace page. With such an impressive debut it should be interesting what MITOCHONDRION will come up with on their second album.

Ulrich Kreienbrink

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