Pantheon of Blood – ‘Tetrasomia’
Review by Jackson Brown
As the first melody of ‘Thunder Alchemy’ seeps through your speakers, an immediate comfort zone is found, with phrasing reminiscent of ‘De Mysteriis…’ era Mayhem. However, this brief familiarity erodes as the riff unexpectedly evolves, and by the time the drums and vocals pound into your ears, it is supremely evident that Pantheon of Blood are their own, unique beast. A far cry from the hordes of black metal acts running with Darkthrones ‘unholy trinity’ template, and a band whose desire to forge their own identity keeps them standing out from the grim and frostbitten crowd.
Every aspect of this release, from the songwriting to the performance oozes confidence. This accomplished, professional attitude is a somewhat rare commodity within the genre, and makes for an extremely convincing listen. Every riff, snare hit and bile laden scream striking your stereo with the unparalleled aggression and hatred that made the second wave bands so exciting.
The musicianship displayed on ‘Tetrasomia’ is complimented perfectly by the classic black metal production, of which the engineer(s) duly deserve praise. The EP truly captures an exceptional rendition of necro sound, whilst retaining a warm organic quality.
The gloriously saturated guitar sound exudes a desolate atmosphere from all directions on opener ‘Thunder Alchemy’. Combined with guitarist Aurochs’ staunch, aggressive riffs and melodic phrasing, this gives the EP a sound that is both faithful to the genre and refreshingly distinctive.
Whilst some primitive sections are held within the four tracks, it’s refreshing to see that band do not rely on incessant, pummelling blastbeats to hold your attention. Pantheon of Blood instead move progressively between the full on, driving hatred of true black metal into slower, more reflective passages; complete with harmonies, multi voiced vocal lines, and on ‘Stigma ja Kolmikärki’ a hypnotic, inventive, Burzum-esque bassline.
‘Tetrasomia’ further showcases the bands desire to create unique soundscapes with the implementation of some very enjoyable clean guitar parts, the likes of which give even Fen a run for their money. ‘Monta Maailmaa Nähnyt’ is a prime example of such experimentation, with a playful riff taking inspiration from folk rather than black metal. To the cynical black metal elite, this could be seen as pandering to certain (lucrative) markets, but once the double kick hits in, it all fits together like a corroded, dusty jigsaw.
An equally strong bond that ties ‘Tetrasomia’ together is new vocalist ‘Z’. Unlike many other black metal bands of a similar calibre, he does not rely on one consistent shrieking tone throughout the EPs duration (cough, cough, Nargaroth, cough).
While admittedly this works for some artists, and although repetition on a theme can help hammer a message home, Z’s choice to move outside the box is enormously rewarding to the listener. Using a toolbox of different styles and timbres similar to Mortuus (Funeral Mist, Marduk), the vocalist manages to maintain an impressive level of both dynamic and textural changes, giving each song and section its own personality.
Overall I am extremely impressed by this bands artistic vision, although the idea of songs resembling elements can hardly be considered groundbreaking. That being said, even when drawing heavily upon the restrictive palette that is necro sound, Pantheon of Blood have managed to create a unique sounding release with a rich musical contrast between each track. For a band that has existed less than half a decade to be releasing music of such fierce competence commands a lot of respect.
Order on tape or CD from Eldritch Lunar Miasma Records here or digitally from the band’s bandcamp page.