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House of Atreus - From the Madness of Ixion

House of Atreus
From the Madness of Ixion
by Martin Knap at 02 October 2018, 12:41 PM

HOUSE OF ATREUS is a US Death Metal band from the state of Minnesota who have released their first demo in 2011 and since then released one EP and one full-length album. As the better educated of you might have guessed from the band’s name, Greek historical and mythological themes are the main theme in their lyrics (King Atreus was the father of Agamemnon, one of the commanders of the Greek forces in the war of Troy). The connection to Greece runs deeper, though, since there seems to be quite a direct inspiration from Greek Black and Death Metal bands such as early ROTTING CHRIST, THOU ART LORD, NECROMANTIA – the old guard of Greek Black Metal that is known for its unique sound. The band also contributed to “The Official Tribute to ROTTING CHRIST” so that makes the connection to Hellenic Metal quite obvious.

HOUSE OF ATREUS sound, in other words, pretty much like an old-school Death/Black Metal band. There is a much bigger continuity between Hellenic Black Metal and old-school US Death Metal bands such as POSSESSED or MORBID ANGEL as well as First Wave Black Metal more in general (especially BATHORY and SARCOFAGO) than is the case with Nordic Black Metal. There isn’t such a strict separation, sonically speaking, between the Greek style of Melodic Black Metal and Death Metal, and elements of both these styles are seamlessly blended together in HOUSE OF ATREUS. It has to be said that their music is distinct from the Gothenburg style of Melodic Death Metal, not only because of the Black Metal elements, and the Pagan Metal, late era BATHORY-inspired groovy riffs, but also because the music is a bit more raw and we don’t get any big melodic choruses as we’re used to in Melo-Death. That being said some of the riffs wouldn’t sound totally out of place on some earlier Melodic Death Metal album.

The BATHORY riffs give the songs an epic, majestic atmosphere that goes well with the heroic theme. The songs are also infused icy, evil Black Metal atmosphere here and there. Sometimes the song will shift between groovy, epic riffs and fast tremolo picking and blast beats in a bit surprising way, like in the song “Cordelia”, but in the context of these songs it works well. As I’ve mentioned already, there are no big melodic hooks on this album, it is a very riff oriented album. The closest where you get to a catchy chorus I think is on “Prometheus Bound” a faster, snappy song (the only one under four minutes). There is one instrumental song on the album (“Ad Hominem”) that the band pulls off rather nicely – as in other songs we get some good lead melodies and a dynamism in composition.

This album has definitely grown on me. At first I thought it was a bit crude and that  it lacked memorable melodies, but as I kept listening to it I started appreciating the great riffs and the thought that went into the music. I feel like it is not for everyone: you have to be a real riff junkie and fan of old-school Extreme Metal to appreciate it, but the qualities of this album can’t be understated.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Madness of Ixion
2. Zealous Inequity
3. Oath of the Horatii
4. Cordelia
5. Call to Thee, Concubines
6. Ad Hominem
7. Prometheus Bound
8. Bonded Behind Supremacy
Lineup:
Anhedonius Wrath – Guitars
Narcissus Interitus – Guitars
Anxietous Nero – Vocals, Bass
Orge Thumos – Drums
Record Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
     


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Edited 13 November 2019
 

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