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Arkheron Thodol – Rituals of The Sovereign Heart

Arkheron Thodol
Rituals of The Sovereign Heart
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 18 November 2020, 11:31 AM

ARKHERON THODOL is an atmospheric black metal band formed in 2012. Their latest album is “Rituals Of The Sovereign Heart,” and it is their second full length.  They also released an EP in 2015.    With four tracks clocking in at 51 minutes, the music is beefy and packed with layers upon layers mixed in with the raw power of black metal. I'd say there are both post and folk elements contained within the album as well but blended seamlessly into the blackened elements. Though these long form songs present a lot of material within their charred walls, it doesn't come out in a messy way nor is it anything close to being progressive.

Rituals Of The Sovereign Heart” is an album with all that the instruments constantly compliment to each other; each instrument can be enjoyed singularly but they still make up a greater whole. The production isn't overly produced; it finds that sweet spot between raw power and actually being an enjoyable listen.  The mixing is what makes it stand out. With each song, my ears could easily pick any instrument out of the mix and follow it to the song's conclusion. “A Glimpse of Woven Light” begins the album with notes that tread the line between guitar licks and feed back. The sweltering guitar drops a heavy miasma down to the frozen ground but the lead guitar and rapid drums keep the moment very frenzied.

The song is very musically focused (as is the whole album), and  some time passes before the vocals arrive. This is fine as it is part of those post elements I mentioned earlier. The vocals are traditional sounding blackened screams that sound a bit depressive but work with the albums melancholy. The next track, “Archonsbane In Bloom”, is my favorite on the album. The intro is a mix of ambient textures and spacey/alien sounds. Acoustic guitars bring in more folks elements, highlighted by cymbals and subtle keyboards.

My head starts to nod when the snare makes its presence known and the keys begin to ramp up. This part is a prime example of why the album sticks in your head so well: even with all the mixture of different styles and atmo, the album still flat out rocks. The halfway point of the song is a beautiful movement of serendipitous guitar and clean keys. It levels of to just the keys then the song returns to a more riff based section for a heavy finish.

Animist Elixir,” has a serene beginning and the laid back vibe is present until four minutes or so in. The guitars get darker as the bass drums sound off for war. The black metal side of the band comes out strongly for much of the song until the final quarter. It is here that serenity meets darkness for a true melting pot experience. The final track, “Void Secretions,” is the darkest song on the album. The beginning is cold with hesitant exploration. Around the 2:25 mark, the hammer drops and the song enters crush mode. Disturbing leads, abrasive riffs, otherworldly keys and blackened shrieks tell an intense tale. As it continues, the song picks up more and more layers to end in a huge wall of sound.

All in all, I enjoyed my time with this album because it has such an effortless and smooth way of throwing all this music into the listeners face. There is a lot to take in but every second is enjoyable.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. A Glimpse Of Woven Light
2. Archonsbane In Bloom
3. Animist Elixir
4. Void Secretion
Lineup:
Tanner Erhart – Guitars
Shiloh McBee – Drums
Mycah Tippit – Guitars
Kelly Elfstrom – Bass, Vocals
Seth Francis – Keyboards
Record Label: Naturmacht Productions
     


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