Review: “Towers Of Dark Pantheon” by Theosophy

Russian Black Metal act Theosophy have reached a milestone with “Towers Of Dark Pantheon” being their fifth studio album together. After all the years of productive activity, successful gigs and flattering reviews from different parts of the world, “Towers Of Dark Pantheon” is an album that promises much. Recorded, engineering and mixed by [K]onstantin [K]orotaev (Dryados, Black Forest, Anima Corpus) during Sept/Nov 2019 at Wave-Records and KHR studio it’s soaked in lyrical themes of Altai history and mythology, Scandinavian heroes, Christian and biblical surroundings and even Cosmic Chaos which run through the black heart of the album as it is saturated with religious themes from different nations. This wasn’t something previously part of the bands sound and marks a new chapter with something of a loose concept album. One thing is certain, Phantom (voices, bass, production, Egiborg (guitars), Eeks Eye (keyboards) and Skinner (percussive battery) will drag you kicking and screaming into the darkness…

….the guitar tone is key to the success of “Towers Of Dark Pantheon“, not just the title track but the album as a whole, combining haunting sense of atmosphere with a sense of grand tradition, there is no escaping the hypnotic trance it creates, shrouding the World in eternal darkness. The demonic vocals Phantom creates are a summoning to the dark depths, his gravelly tones like garbling broken glass but still giving the opportunity to understand the story behind the lyrics. “Curse Of Ak-Kadyn” makes good use of subtle synth parts to build the dynamic and mimic a second guitar while Skinner’s percussive battering ram of jackhammer footwork is sublime on this cut. The blast beats start on “Where Thunder Reigns” and don’t stop with a restless melloncholic melody and haunting ebb and flow as the darkness rises and falls as the day turns to night and back again for a tale of Scandinavian heroes in epic grandeur. That sense continues into the equally epic “Full Moon Triumph” which gives Skinner a full work out while also having some achingly beautiful keyboard work in mimic of piano. It’s a brave move given the relentless pummelling of the drums but works really well in stark contrast, adding a layer of texture not found on some Black Metal albums.

The second half of the record begins with the oddly titled “Old Stone In The Woods“, a meandering tale that builds on the previous cut with a sense of glory and fleeting moments of cleaner riffing. The subtlety here is key to keeping the flow of the album intact, deviating from the path enough to make for a solid addition without straying too far. “The Sword Of Erlik” could be a Power Metal tale in lyrics alone but Theosophy turn it into a tale from the blackest of sabbaths with a stream of dark riffs and cold keyboards with Skinner’s relentless thunder on the kit like lightning bolts thrown by a wrathful God. Enter the Forest my child and you shall never leave. “Even the Dead Cast Shadows” continues the traditional sound of “Towers Of Dark Pantheon“, only breaking away from the classically styled riffs for a couple of cleaner riff passages of structured chord progressions rather than a solo or lead flourish. The comic tale of life beyond this plane of existence in “From Eternity To Past” complete with cold spoken word touches is a haunting nightmarish one with the keyboards once again replacing any solo and acting as a light in the dark passage the rest of the band create. An acoustic guitar flourish adds texture, something which would be welcomed should it be used again. [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Towers Of Dark Pantheon
  2. Curse Of Ak-Kadyn
  3. Where Thunder Reigns
  4. Full Moon Triumph
  5. Old Stone In The Woods
  6. The Sword Of Erlik
  7. Even the Dead Cast Shadows
  8. From Eternity To Past

Towers Of Dark Pantheon” by Theosophy is out 5th May via Sliptrick Records and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp.

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