MITHRAS - Forever Advancing… Legions (GOLDEN LAKE - CD 2002)
In 2002, at the time when I was preparing the release of the second issue of my fanzine, I got a CD from the unknown Scottish label / band. The label was called Golden Lake Productions and they just released a debut album of Mithras called “Forever Advancing… Legions”. I still remember how great impression this album did on me; I even decided to interview the band asap and really, really considered them to be one of the best death metal bands around at that time; one which can easily rival the masters of the genre. Yes, it wasn’t an exaggerated opinion… This band – led by two amazing instrumentalists Leon Macey and Rayner Coss – showed some absolutely amazing skills, composed truly brilliant album and what’s more, even if certainly they did take some influences from two or three legendary death metal bands, they also managed to create the material, which was different and in the end more original than your usual death metal record. Yeah, “Forever Advancing… Legions” did fuckin impress me. The album was later re-released by Candlelight Records, but somehow I cannot say that Mithras really got the attention they deserved. Unfortunately I doubt many maniacs know this band… well, maybe this review will introduce you to this really awesome band and it will force you to check them out. If not, then go and listen to Beaber until you go deaf.
So, what’s all the fuzz about “Forever Advancing… Legions”? Well, think about the albums from such bands as Morbid Angel, Nocturnus, Nile, Luciferion, After Death (plus it also reminds me Polish Lost Soul from “Immerse in Infinity”, although Mithras couldn’t hear this album, as it was released few years after “Forever…” hehe) and now try to get something new out of these influences, with the concept based around the Ancient Rome and christian crusades and you’ll be there! “Gladiator” is one of my favourite movies of all time, “Kingdom of Heaven” as well, so it was kind of cool to finally listen to an album with the lyrics based on these parts of history. And Mithras did really awesome job here, constructing a twelve song album (with 46 minutes on the clock), which brings many great surprises and truly is like a travel in time. I think that the opening song, which is a damn monumental, heroic intro, already puts the listener in the right mood – and I can compare this intro only to the best epic movie soundtracks, with the exception that Mithras added some lunatic guitar leads in the background. And then BANG – “Trample Their Works” erupts with great aggression, fast and relentless, with some splendid riffs and truly incredible vocals (including some clean vocal parts here and there)… this song alone can give you an idea for what Mithras music is like; massive, technical riffs, great atmosphere, furious tempos, but also a lot of diversity and finally those guitar leads! Damn, Leon Macey is such a talented guitarist (and drummer, as his drumming is also really damn awesome and very precise, very technical, with lots of cool parts). With “Sloping Altars” the tempo doesn’t slow at all at first, but then killer Morbid Angel-esque riff cracks before another cannonade of ultra fast death metal starts… but it is “Arena Sands”, which really shows the whole potential of Mithras – very unique, technical death metal song, but with many varied parts, from fast to really slow and epic and even a bit of more ambiental stuff. This song may sound strange to some of you, it may be almost too experimental and too complex, not just musically, but also with its structure, but give it few listens and I dare to say you’ll love it.
I have a feeling like the album was split in two parts (first being about the Ancient Rome and the second deals with the crusades, at least this is what I understand from the lyrics) and the two instrumentals, which are tracks number five and six are the end and beginning of the chapters. Again you’ll hear bombastic, kind of movie soundtrack, orchestral motifs and I must say that such break in the middle of the album does work well for “Forever Advancing… Legions”. After that we have such excellent songs as “Wrath of God” (slower, very similar to “Domination” era Morbid Angel) and “Dreaming in Spendour” and I have nothing to add; the band left me speechless. Really, they recorded some incredibly awesome songs here, I just love the guitar work, especially leads and harmonies on this album – Trey Azagthoth would probably die in jealousy if he ever heard them. The final effect is even better with quite unique production of “Forever Advancing… Legions”. All in all, I must say that if you’re into “Domination” LP, as well as into Nocturnus, Hate Eternal and all the other bands, which I have mentioned in this review then you just must get yourself a copy of “Forever Advancing… Legions”.
Standout tracks: “Arena Sands”, “Sloping Altars”, “Wrath of God”
Final rate: 90/100