Adam “AD” DePrez – Bass
MK – Drums
JT “JG” Gilmore – Vocals & Guitar
1. Promethean Fire
3. Trance Of Annihilation
4. Feral Heart
6. Sylvan Apotheosis
Long-time readers (hi, Mum) will be familiar with the critique on black metal records and their production values. Is it a choice, or are there other factors? Either way, there’s little else that can detract from a record quite as much as production with all the finesse and grace of a sudden bowel evacuation. You can have the finest songs in the world, songs that are the absolute precipice of music that reduce grown men to weeping wrecks with its power (not terribly likely in our world, but we can dream), but if the medium in which it is delivered sounds like complete arse, it doesn’t matter one bit.
So imagine the surprise when the fizzy, slightly raw-sounding self-titled offering from EOSPHOROS just works. It has a rather earthy quality to it, rather akin to WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM. You can’t help but feel it was put together by a group who get their hands dirty and are in touch with the world around them. That might sound a little pretentious, but you do get sucked into this honest-to-whatever-deity slice of black metal.
“Dross” it most certainly is not (insert critic smirk here). What EOSPHOROS seem to manage is run the gamut between a myriad of black metal favourites, yet manage to combine them delightfully into a cohesive whole. The aforementioned “Dross” is such an example, with driving rhythms, riffs for days and power in the vocals that don’t just grab your attention but absolutely demand it without question. There’s plenty of tremolo riffage to whet the appetite across the album, but the band also successfully settle into a groove, or driving atmospheric passage with aplomb. A prime example of the two comes in the form of the half-time dirge in “Promethean Fire” – slow, purposeful and heavy. It’s the contrasts that make it more impactful (something which many albums fail to appreciate).
The album can at times, feel a tad familiar with its progressions – another case of the staid nature of black metal, but it’s almost like putting on a familiar jumper. It’s the season for it, admittedly, but there are a few tired holes developing that ought to be darned or discarded, but it’ll do for the time being. The evil BRIAN ENO-esque “Solitude” breaks rank and offers something a little extra: a sprawling, isolated cut of ambience that sits just a little south of unnerving with its insistent wails and earthy tones. Combined with fiery closer “Sylvan Apothesis”, it makes for a long, drawn-out listen that is at once dragging, as well as despairing.
At only six songs and spanning forty-five minutes, EOSPHOROS’ debut can feel a little overlong in places, but the oddly exciting nature it possesses amidst the subtly lo-fi production provides a welcome change to the norm. It’s rare to be forced to eat one’s own words, but even rarer when the medicine is willingly taken. The atmospheres are interesting, the fire from the tremolo riffs and vocals satisfying, and the songs sound exceptionally down-to-earth. A slightly tighter production may still be of benefit for future releases, but it’s still a nice change from the usual lofty ambitions, or otherworldly ventures other bands take. EOSPHOROS could be onto something here.