Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Initial Impressions: Kawir: Ophiolatreia

Kawir is from Greece, part of a wave of blackened metal bands that are widely regarded as Hellenic black metal. I say "blackened" because many of the bands that make up the movement have reduced their black metal sound in favor of a more melodic, folk-inspired sound. They use Greek musical instruments and are often influenced by Greek mythology and stories. Kawir joins their countrymen in Rotting Christ and Varathron in this respect.

Kawir's music is based in black metal. The riffs are often delivered in a tremolo style with blast beating drums underneath. The music is often extremely fast. There are several moments when keyboards or other instruments (wind and string instruments) are played and the rhythm is changed to give the feeling of Greek music. The vocals are often done in a harsh rasp, although there are moments that sound like chanting. Some tracks carry this forward to a greater degree and have ritualistic sounding drums and music.

The album is mostly centered around Greek mythology. Most of the songs are named after characters out of myths or specific situations. The album sounds almost as if the songs are invocations to the Greek gods. I enjoy Greek mythology, and have since seventh grade. So this album is very interesting to me from a conceptual standpoint. Musically, Kawir is not as strong as Rotting Christ, but they are more experimental and remain closer to black metal. This is an intriguing album in many respects.

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