Thursday, January 19, 2012

Varathron - One Step Beyond Dreams (1991)

Certainly not the most consistent of the Hellenic Black Metal bands, Varathron's first official release is unlike anything that succeeded it. One Step Beyond Dreams, released in 1991 via Black Vomit Records, is a far cry from the material that would find its way onto His Majesty at the Swamp. This 7" E.P. features two songs that possess more energy than anyone might expect from Varathron.

The material is not one-dimensional, by any means, but the dominant style is fast-paced and intense. There is an old school Black / Thrash vibe, to an extent, and the harsh production accentuates the rawness of the music. "Descent of Prophetic Vision" may be more in line with what would come later, with a couple mid-paced riffs and more epic lead solos. However, "Genesis of Apocryphal Desire" is consumed with an unrelenting intensity that threatens to rip your face off. There seems to be a mixture of Thrash and Death Metal riffs, with a solo that was taken straight from Slayer's playbook. The vocals are sort of a hoarse barking, which suits the aggressive and primitive material just fine. While the first track is kind of there, the second one is one of the best ever recorded by this band.

One Step Beyond Dreams is a very solid effort, well worth picking up. If you are hoping for the type of epic, mid-paced stuff that is found on their debut album, avoid this E.P. These songs are , at times, violent and energetic. Varathron really made their mark with this release, and it is too bad that the band did not retain some of this fury for later on.