Review: Ofermod / Black Altar / Acherontas – Drakonian Elitism (Split)

Introduction

Band: Ofermod / Black Altar / Acherontas
Album: Drakonian Elitism (Split)
Origin: Norrköping, Östergötland/Stockholm, Sweden • Olsztyn, Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Poland • Athens, Attica, Greece
Genre: Orthodox Black Metal
Label: Odium Records

Ofermod’s Michaya Belfegor and his occult practices are no secret. As a member of the International esoteric cult, Dragon Rouge (based in Sweden), Ofermod’s music is naturally a reflection of his experiences with the great work: ritualism, black & red magicks and Draconian current. Draconian current has been described by Yiannis Ktls (Serpent Noir) during one of our discussions as something someone has to “be crazy enough to step into” or merge with. A double-edged sword is the Dragon’s current and one must be adept to harness it. On December 22, an album dedicated to the current was released…

The Album

“Drakonian Elitism” is a split LP between the aforementioned Ofermod, Polish black metal doomsayers, Black Altar and Greece’s Acherontas. An opus! One brimming with all things ritualistic and evil. Alas, the Dragon is awakened upon the intro, as chants set to ceremonial rhythms set a most mystifying tone. Highly cinematic and casting forth from the darkest chasms of your subconscious mind, images of forbidden rituals performed under the guise of nightfall. As always, Michayah provides an experience unique to the album; putting the very best of his talents on display upon a myriad of riffing techniques and wisely comprised, unpredictable arrangements that somehow feel familiar all the same. From the complex melodicism of “Vinum Sabbathi” to the towering imposition of “Agios Ischyros Belial” with its grande, almost blackened death metal-like progressions and “Atavistic Chants of Leviathan” as it closes out Ofermod’s contribution with more of those epic cinematic elements that overlap onto a sonic tapestry of melodic sequences and hearty chants.

Black Altar are Poland’s spearheading orthodox black metal band, led by one Shadow. Not much to be known about their occult practices and their discography is an obscure one comprised of mostly splits and EP’s but a noble one nonetheless. Their purveying of only the most genuine occult-inspired black metal has – along with their ability to create BM of the world-class variety – made them one of the most highly respected and renowned Polish black metal bands. Black Altar’s contribution is one that proudly stretches the almost impossible-to-reach bar of excellence set by Ofermod. Every bit as sinister but even more palatable as you’re welcomed onto the flip side of this awakening with “Via Draconis” – an immersive piece that features even more dramatic chants set to captivating melodies redolent of fellow Poles Mgła and just as drenched in misery. The sheer momentum of Black Altar’s benefaction properly mirrors the powerful energy of the current as if it were formed therein. “In the Labyrinths of Sitra Achra”, “The Oracle of Divine Madness” and the outro – feasts of fire for both the practicing occultist and the occult BM enthusiast. Summonings, Incantations and diabolical proclamations made under the seal of true Polish orthodox black metal.

Acherontas, hailing from Athens, Greece and also steeped in mystique, engage the listener with a more cerebral bestowment: intense, bewildering and radiating unfiltered diabolical energy. Like the great summoning of Leviathan itself, as mighty bellows that speak unknown languages of the spirit reverberate into an atmosphere most brutal. A two-cut contribution but a noteworthy one and a uniquely ambient way to close out what was previously a high-energy onslaught.

Conclusion

And so the Dragon has spoken, but to what truths remains a mystery. From what tomes were these lyrics taken? And what sort of connotations are they casting upon our world? Powerful magic! And real enough to influence lifelong allegiances to its practices, but for us, this sacred knowledge and these profound experiences will more-than-likely remain a mystery. Albums like “Drakonian Elitism” offer a rare look into the world of occultism as provided by actual practitioners, and orthodox black metal is one of the last true forms of the genre that has yet to be tainted in the slightest by commercialism or popularity. A dominating effort where one collective brings out the very best in another. The finest split release of the year.

BMZ score: 9/10

Experience “Drakonian Elitism” by Ofermod, Black Altar and Acherontas right here as presented by Odium Records:

YouTube player

Share your thoughts

Did you like the album? Please let us know on our social media channels, or join us on discord, where we discuss all things black metal! Make sure to follow our Facebook page, Black Metal Zine, to receive notifications when we publish articles. Also check out our Instagram at @blackmetal.zine for concert pictures and more!

How do you rate this album?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.