House of Atreus – The Spear and the Ichor That Follows

House of AtreusWhile (luckily) few stomach the “views” of Arghoslent, many in the extreme metal scene champion the actual music of the band itself, the band’s mostly mid-tempo galloping riffery finding its inexorably catchy way into misanthropic minds. Fans may have wondered what the accumulative impact of those West Virginians’ arrangements could have been if somehow extricated from their author’s hate-fueled lyrics, but ever since Minneapolis’ House of Atreus appeared in 2011 with their first demo, the answer has been available: yes, powerful, melodic war metal is quite capable of going beyond any influence or content, and can tread boldly into the realm of pure sonic bludgeoning well within its own right.
This is not to say that House of Atreus’ debut full-length The Spear and the Ichor That Follows, due out May 5th on Dark Descent, should be considered a simple rehash of the triplet-driven, harmonic battle cries of Arghoslent’s aural exploits, just with different words – no, House of Atreus’ metal Minnesotans incorporate their own chosen doses of melodic ‘80s thrash (perhaps a bit of Time Does Not Heal Dark Angel, Mind Wars Holy Terror, maybe even a little early Voivod) and death metal outside of the Arghoslent repertoire, even adding occasional light touches of black metal (especially Greek ungods Rotting Christ and Varathron) in their cauldron of darkness. Like their brothers-in-spirit Sacriphyx, HoA are unafraid to downpick with the need to instigate head-snapping blood lust in its listeners, or to indulge in a purely anthemic guitar solo whenever necessary. The militaristic and memorable death metal-bark cadence of Anxietous Nero (aka bassist/vocalist Dan Huddleston) relates tales of Greek tragedy, war, along with Shakespearean quotes, all in unflinching accompaniment to the menacing march of spear-thrusters like ‘Veiled in Dignities of Wrath’, a song conjuring an enraged riff-discipline Roman centurions of old could appreciate. The open-chord reverie of ‘Heir to the Crown of Sodom’ explodes into a barrage of palm-muted guitar mortar that will either convert or slay the haters upon first listen (and if you have any doubts about the ‘brutal-ness’ of Shakespeare, listen intently to the sample of ‘Titus Andronicus’ at song’s end, leading into ‘The Beasts of Antiquity’ – pure darkness). Aptly-named closer ‘The River Black’ machines the album’s only shrieking black metal-style lead vocal with a heart-stirring, arpeggio-shredding lead guitar into one of the band’s best tracks.
The Spear and the Ichor That Follows will surely polarize metal fans for different reasons; some for where the heart of its sound takes inspiration, others by the brazen melodicism of its song structures in comparison with other Dark Descent releases (aside from Crypt Sermon’s and the last Horrendous, of course). I care nothing for the inevitable, oncoming wave of discourse either way – Huddleston deftly dismissed it here
over a year ago – and instead urge you to give this early End of Year list contender a careful listen. -Jim

Dark Descent

~ by cliftonium on March 25, 2015.

One Response to “House of Atreus – The Spear and the Ichor That Follows”

  1. The Into The Brazen Bull EP kicked massive ass, looking forward to this one! It’s out on Dark Descent which for me usually means “must have”.

    Also, great interview with Huddleston, righteously destroying both politically correct dumbasses and punk shits who mistake attitude and opinion for musicianship. Fuckers…

    Hail Arghoslent! 😉

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