EMBRACE OF THORNS - The Pantheon I (IRON BONEHEAD - 7"EP 2022)
There are certain bands, which I am always eager to hear every time they do new recordings. Embrace of Thorns belongs to this group for sure. They're not only my Greek band (at least together with Dead Congregation), but also one, which never disappointed me and I can honestly say that every album from them is a killer. At the moment I’m waiting for the new LP, titled "Entropy Dynamics", but it's been announced with the 7"EP "The Pantheon I", which I have been listening to extensively for some time now. You don't need to ask me how I like it, because the answer can be only one. But I will use an opportunity to give a brief description of the content and just add a couple of sentences about how I feel about these two tracks.
So, the title track comes on side A and it can be a little misleading song, if you know what Embrace of Thorns has been mostly delivering. And I don’t think also that this song would be a referring point to “Entropy Dynamics”. I am guessing it’s an outtake from “Scorn Aesthetics”, recorded more or less at the same time, back in 2017. What can surprise a little rather death / black metal with a strong melodic touch here and there, something what Embrace of Thorns is not that well known. Although they did songs like “ Ad Absurdum” before and you can definitely put "The Pantheon I" right next to it, I think. Swapping their trademark bestial black metal savagery from the sound for something more monumental and melodic didn’t affect the music in negative way at all. It still sounds insanely dark and powerful; it still has aggression and ferocious characteristics and personally I don’t have anything against such slower songs. Actually, I think it sounds excellent. Yes, it is very different to such “Praying for Absolution”, but damn good anyway.
If the title song was something quite unusual from the trademark Embrace of Thorns sound and style, then “Awakening of the Elder Warlocks” is more traditional for the band, more in the vein of the old albums. It's harsh, ravaging and fast black metal onslaught. The song is fierce and aggressive, morbid and raw, just exactly what you normally expect to hear from this band. I think that the songwriting has developed hugely from their beginning, it’s more developed, song is more structured... but it holds the same values.
I have no idea then if the new album will more in the vein of side A or side B. I am sure it’s going to be great, so I am waiting. And I will give "The Pantheon I” many more spins.