Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thou Art Lord - Diabolou Archaes Legeones (1993)

Thou Art Lord can be seen as the offspring of Rotting Christ and Necromantia, featuring members of both bands. It should come to the surprise of no one that among them is Morbid (aka Magus Wampyr Daoloth), who seemed to have his hand in many of the Hellenic Black Metal bands of the early-to-mid '90s. Released in June 1993, the tracks that comprise the Diabolou Archaes Legeones E.P. were taken from their previous demo, The Cult of the Horned One. Some may look down on this, thinking that the band was trying to get extra mileage out of the same material, yet that was not the case. Their demo tape was self-released, meaning that much fewer had the opportunity to hear it, whereas this 7" was released by Molon Lave Records and gave Thou Art Lord more exposure, eventually enabling them to record a full-length album.

The two songs on here, "The Era of Satan Rising" and "Praising the Impure", share some similarities. As a matter of fact, the second song begins with the same drum beat that ended the previous track, which gives it a feeling of redundancy. This is especially harmful, since the opener is such a great song. Thankfully, the material soon shifts and displays a different side of the band. The first tune is more straightforward, featuring a mixture of fast-paced staccato and tremolo riffs, with a slower section later on that allows for an interesting lead melody to unfold. The second song unleashed the mid-paced riffs much earlier, while also making more use of the synth and attempting to create a totally different atmosphere. There are brief moments where a clean guitar emerges from the darkness, adding yet another layer of darkness. While the music can, easily, be compared to Rotting Christ's ouput from the same period, it is noticeably darker and a bit morose. It is unfortunate that the label opted to save the other song for a split release, as it is an even better example of the gloomier songwriting. The production is not too far off from what would be heard on Eosforos. Naturally, the sound possesses a lower quality and things seem somewhat muffled, when directly compared to their first L.P. That being said, it is still superior to a good number of full-length albums that were being released around this time.

Diabolou Archaes Legeones is a safe bet for anyone with a fondness for Hellenic Black Metal, or Thou Art Lord in particular. It is difficult to call it essential, simply based on the fact that it only contains two songs, one of which is available in very similar form on their debut album. While the other track is very solid, it is not brilliant enough to warrant going to great lengths to seek this out.