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Eschatos - "Hierophanies" (CD)

Eschatos - "Hierophanies" CD cover image

"Hierophanies" track listing:

1. Into Coherent Void (2:54)
2. One That Divides The Time (6:35)
3. Crusaders of Sodom (10:49)
4. Hierophanies (1:38)
5. Erset La Tari (9:09)

Reviewed by on July 26, 2013

"If a phrase like 'post-black metal' doesn’t scare you off, take note of Eschatos, because it’s a name you’ll likely hear again in the future, and you’ll have the pleasure of informing people you were a fan before the band got big."

Establishing an extreme metal foothold in the oft-overlook land of Latvia, Eschatos has a winner on its hands with the band’s very first full-length release. Surprisingly complex and multi-faceted, the debut album “Hierophanies” takes black metal to the next level, marrying together chaos and order in about equal doses.

The disturbing cover artwork is actually a fairly good representation of the musical direction: a huge, blind gaping maw of horror and hate waiting to swallow anything in its path. The tracks focus on abrasive black metal, but they also have a very strong grasp on melody and song structure to hold everything together, even in the midst of an insane storm of screams and blast beats.

“Hierophanies” is an incredibly varied release, with a ten-minute track sitting next to a six-minute track placed next to a two-minute track. The opening “Into Coherent Void” is exactly what it sounds like, ending up both atmospheric and chaotic, with oddly discordant and even terrifying sounds in the background, like off-key plucked strings and ominous horns. “Crusaders of Sodom,” on the other hand, throws out some buzzing, chaotic reverb in the background of melodic, strummed guitars before switching gears into a proggy segment with fully audible bass lines.

Mimicking the instrumentation, the vocals also range from hoarse and high-pitched shrieks that are misanthropic to the max over to clean singing and even some oddly gurgled lines. All of these changes in style take the album in and out of its primary genre, and in fact, “Hierophanies” doesn’t actually enter stereotypical black metal territory until the closing track “Erset La Tari,” which throws in the blast beats and more traditional Scandinavian metal elements.

Although a fairly short debut release, these five tracks feature crystal-clear production, top-notch song writing, and a solid blend of chaotic black metal hate and atmospheric interlude material. If a phrase like “post-black metal” doesn’t scare you off, take note of Eschatos, because it’s a name you’ll likely hear again in the future, and you’ll have the pleasure of informing people you were a fan before the band got big.

Highs: Chaotic black metal tempered by melody and infused with pure terror.

Lows: Some of the vocals are too odd to work for everyone, and despite the long song lengths, the album is actually fairly short overall.

Bottom line: If you thought black metal was dead, think again - Eschatos injects new life into the genre by melding chaos and melody.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)