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Synteleia - Ending of the Unknown Path

Ending of the Unknown Path
by Gary Hernandez at 08 September 2019, 4:21 PM

SYNTELEIA is a Hellenic Black Metal band from Athens, Greece. As if their style of music wasn’t niche enough, their debut album, “Ending of the Unknown Path,” is devoted to H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. The good news is you don’t have to be conversant in the nuances of the early second wave of Black Metal or have read single Lovecraft short story to appreciate this band, although both would add to the experience. (Side note, of the 70 some odd bands that are categorized under Cthulhu mythos in Encylopaedia Metallum, almost a third of them identify as some variation of Black Metal. Shocking, I know. Someone should call the Illuminati.)

In 2016, SYNTELEIA released a rehearsal demo, “Astral Blasphemies,” with a slightly different line up (different drummer and one different guitarist). Two of the tracks, duly evolved and matured, appear on “Ending of the Unknown Path,” released on Hells Headbangers Records in of August of this year. As you might expect, the SYNTELEIA of 2019 is more refined than the SYNTELEIA of 2016, though they’ve retained an aspect of their essential rawness (hard to lose in Black Metal).

“Ending of the Unknown Path” is an impressive debut. There is an intricateness at work throughout—the bass line of “Three Oaths to Dagon”; the operatic vocalist on “Ithaqua, thy Mighty Storm”; the otherworldly guitar solo of “Many Masks of Nyarlathotep”—that sets it apart. Lovecraft purists may take exception to references to non-Cthulhu archetypes such as black goats and demons, but songs dedicated to Nyarlathotep and Celephias pretty much forgive any deviations from cannon.

There are a lot of great tracks on this album. It’s hard not to put it on a continuous loop and just get on with your day. “Celephias,” with its acoustic opening and allusions to deep mythos, is likely to garner a lot of likes. For some reason, acoustic intros suggest depth, intelligence, and emotional maturity. They’re like a Prog stamp, so we’ll give “Celephias” a thumbs-up. My personal favorites are “Dark Summoner of Yog-Sothoth” with its killer riff opener, “Ithaqua, thy Mighty Storm” with its operatic flourishes, and “Three Oaths to Dagon” that achieves this atmosphere that makes you feel like you stumbled upon the forgotten city under the sea.

For the curious, the word “synteleia” is Greek for completion, consummation, or end. The name fits the band, fits the Lovecraftian theme, fits the album. The album itself is a solid debut for a band that you’ll probably want to start following. Would Mr. Lovecraft, penning his tales of madness and cosmic horror, have ever dreamed that his works would make such a perfect pairing with Hellenic Black Metal? Perhaps in the darkest shadows of Ulthar, perhaps.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Daemonica Infernalium
2. Dark Summoner of Yog-Sothoth
3. Ithaqua, thy Mighty Storm
4. Three Oaths to Dagon
5. Ending of the Unknown Path
6. Celephais
7. Missioner of Sorrow
8. The Black Goat Rites
9. Many Masks of Nyarlathotep
Nyctelios - Vocals
Drakon Hesperion - Guitars
Septis - Bass
Cronios - Guitars
Yngve - Drums (session)
Record Label: Hells Headbangers Records


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