Friday, June 4, 2010

Initial Impressions: Argharus: Plei'tas

This CD is one of the two that I won in the Metal Maniacs contest I mentioned in last week's recap. From the cover of the album, I was expecting something somewhat solemn and maybe even a little ambient with black metal at its core. I was wrong, this is absolutely hateful-sounding black metal. You would never guess that from the album's cover.

Argharus has been around since 2004, but this is the band's full-length debut. They previously only recorded a split with fellow Lithuanian black metal band Luctus.

The album kicks things off with the punishing riffs and blasting drums of "Dievopi". Argharus's sound has far more in common with the second wave of black metal bands out of Norway and Sweden than any recent developments in the scene. The music does manage to create an atmosphere, but it is a harsh, cold atmosphere. The vocals call to mind the manic, devilish screaming, howling, and groaning of Attila Csihar on Mayhem's landmark De Myseteriis Dom. Satanas.

There are moments when the band slows things down and plays a melodic interlude, but these generally just lead into the next chaotic tirade of riffs. Sometimes the interlude last for an entire track, which only serves as a sort of calm before the storm.

The production is actually very impressive. It's clear without being too sterile, and is just murky enough to preserve the hostile atmosphere the band is striving for on this release.

This album calls to mind the time period when black metal was at the height of its dangerous reputation, without being a copycat. There are not many bands playing so-called "True Black Metal" anymore, but this band certainly appears to be one of them.

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