What has the famous Zak Stevens (SAVATAGE / CIRCLE II CIRCLE) got to do with a Symphonic Black Metal band from Greece under the name of LITROSIS? Was that a good teaser or what? However, I didn’t write the following to talk about Zak Stevens but to let you know that when a document reads to you a sort of genre tagged to a band, don’t believe a word. I think I said that more than enough. It is not because the promoters are liars or something like that, but because sometimes even the bands don’t really know how wide their spectrum is. That is the case with LITROSIS, tagged under Symphonic Black Metal while delivering the aggression of the Norwegian masters’ kind but with an up class Heavy Metal lead guitar work plus melodies that won’t put Power Metal or NWOBHM to shame in any way. “I Am Death” is their debut album, and the first under the Pitch Black Records label. As far as Black Metal is concerned, these Greek dudes crossed the line.
Frankly, I wasn’t so enthusiastic in my first listen of the album. Most of the first part, meaning from songs one to five (included) were more or less in the same Black Metal stuff made in Norway plus the melodies that were storming around the harsh, intense riffing and grinding rhythms of evil. “Soulcide” made a true impact right from the start both with its intensity, though rather common, but its lead fretwork just killed me and laid me down to rest (metaphorically speaking of course). The others were quite nice as I think that the melodic nature of the band played out in their favour as those increased the flowing manner of the entire release plus the lead guitarist that just bombed.
When the second part came knocking at my head pretty hard with the beginning of “I Am Death”, it felt different, as if the Greek folks meant for that to happen. It is not about the shocking effect but the rate of creativity that came surging above my head while leaving me in a sort of trance. The former began the ramming through the skull right until “Bloodred Desert Plain”. That one blazed through the soul and I think that I actually felt the beating hearts of the players pumping blood with every passing of the speedy octave made riff, atmospheric keyboards, growls and the masterful soloing. It sounded like a Power Metal song with a Black Metal attitude, a true total craze but it worked out well for LITROSIS. Next was “In the Grave You Go Alone”. Remember when I teased you with Zak Stevens’ involvement with this band, so there you go. This song harbors the lead vocals of Stevens that with his amazing voice created this band a hit. However, he didn’t do it alone, LITROSIS, with their old school Black Metal sound, and it truly shows, engraved an important milestone in their new career with this collaboration. It made them compose and deliver a sort of an emotional melodic and solo infested ballad that is utterly far from the belligerence and gruesomeness of their origin. I salute them for that.
“I Am Death” started as something that is pretty frequent to Black Metal music but elevated into something greater. I think that this is a good start for LITROSIS, some of their later number really inspired me and I also feel that bringing on a permanent clean vocals frontman, to the side of the lead growler, will take them into new horizons. A recommend album for both Extreme and Classic Metal fans, you won’t be disappointed.
1. Litrosis 2. Insomniac's Lullaby 3. Soulcide 4. Burn the Sun 5. Countless Wounds 6. I Am Death 7. Bloodred Desert Plain 8. In the Grave You Go Alone 9. Bury the Dead