Review: “Achrony” by Elderblood

Having formed in 2011, 2021 marks a decade of aggression for Kharkiv Ukraine Black Metallers Elderblood as they ruminate on the degeneration of humanity through history in what is intended to become an out-of-time hymn in keeping with the traditions of old. Perhaps not a band for genre purists, they are comprised of seasoned musicians with no less than sixteen projects and live fill-in’s between them over the years including GreyAblaze, KZOHH, Twilightfall, Ulvegr, Ygg, Necrom and Nokturnal Mortum. Their description of their latest work simply reads: “This album is a walk through the ashes. You can’t exactly say whether it is left from the burnt church or from the self-immolation – all these themes are intertwined in a single tangle and from song to song create the whole atmosphere of the ‘Achrony’ and everything we wanted to tell with this album

This third album from Elderblood sees them for the most part shed the skin of Symphony which was entrenched in their previous two records in 2013’s “Son Of The Mourning” and 2016’s “Messiah” in favour of a more classical Black Metal approach. After the atmospheric introduction piece that is “Sparks” that builds up with choral passages before the hammer falls for “The Great Fire of Sacrifice“, a church burning of frenetic tremolo picking and blast beats being the price of passage to the other side. There are however more than a few surprises along the way; the bands clever use of Death Metal riffage on the likes of “Satan’s Stench” and whammy bar moments throughout to beef up segments makes for a less traditional approach but keeps things fresh and energetic while “Holy Plague” has cinematic orchestration to give it a real sense of epic grandeur alongside some buried symphonic touches that bejewel the music rather than drown it. Showing a real mastery of their craft, the band build slow burning moments before throwing their bullets in the fire and running like hell with break neck moments of pure adrenaline, capturing their live performance energy perfectly for a studio record. Astargh’s vocals mix higher pitched Black Metal tones with dark growls and the occasional almost aloof sounding spoken word, like on “The One Who Has Not Yet Come” that at times give the impression of two voices inside the same skull, one good and one pure evil. There are obvious comparisons with Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir within the record, the veil of influence thin in places but it makes the album no less compelling as it hammers home each cut like a coffin nail, the heads shinning in the darkness. The obvious choice for a single, “Virgin Land Plowed Over by Death” is the middle ground of the album, the perfect balance between the shades of black that the band are looking for in their sound. “Soot” then returns to the orchestral moments with a pummelling performance from drummer Odalv and a surprise face melter of a solo, something that perhaps isn’t used as often as it could be given the bands obvious talents. All you need to do is fall under their spell and embrace their incantations to enjoy this and they make it so easy [8/10]

Track listing

1. Sparks
2. The Great Fire of Sacrifice
3. Fallen Seraphs
4. Holy Plague
5. Life Eternal
6. Virgin Land Plowed Over by Death
7. Soot
8. The One Who Has Not Yet Come
9. Sainthood’s Stench
10. The New Testament

Achrony” by Elderblood is out 9th July via Drakkar Productions with pre-orders available over at bandcamp

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