What comes to mind when you think of grim Black Metal? Darkness, hate, writhing? Right now I’m thinking of Greece as it’s the country of origin of one man band and subject of this review Eriphion with the EP which is curiously titled ‘Hossana’ which means to “express joy”.
Things segue from quiet as the stream buffers to grim in the blink of an eye in the title track Hossana with all the expected hallmarks of Black Metal being present and blaringly accounted for. A slightly faster tempo driving a kick-snare-kick-snare drum pattern and an intelligible guitar/bass tone sets the darkness for this quartet of bleak stories, except the lyrics don’t seem bleak at all, “Growing inside of me, out of darkness, out of pain, the will to live” and the chorus exclamation of “Hossana, εν υψίστοις” which according to my strong grasp of the Greek language (Google Translate) roughly means “To express joy to the highest degree”. Grim.
While the production quality IS low-fi, it’s not low-fi enough for what I would typically reserve for Black Metal. Okay, I’m being a bit silly here but on a glancing listen I had the expectation that I was going to be listening to some kind of art imitating art kind of recording. While that is the case to a degree I’m getting a positive vibe from this and I’m a bit taken aback, taking time to listen much more carefully.
Heading into the next track My Fate, I’m faced with a reckoning of sorts. I misjudged Eriphion horribly! I was intending to write a somewhat negative review but I’m genuinely growing to like what I’m hearing! Sure it may not have broad commercial appeal but I am appreciating the approach being taken, “I forget my hate and destroy the dark I made”, I can certainly relate to that. My frustration now turns to the vocals which are so buried in delay it’s hard to understand what’s being said but I typically read the lyrics to songs as I listen so it’s not a huge problem for me personally but would be an issue for most casual listeners.
Especially when it is revealed that this EP is in fact satanic. It’s about the personality behind the music, under the pseudonym M. choosing the satanic way of life and revelling in the splendour of it.
Forever Me kicks in with a staccato palm mute and 8th note kicks, introduces some midi plugin violins and synths which are a nice touch honestly. The satanic themes continue although this track is a bit less sure than the preceding two, lyrically it deals with the undercurrent of choosing that way of life and still having a past, a pain, that still brings hurt.
This brings us to the closing title The Forest, which directly builds on this concept of walking a path in darkness alone and having to find yourself. We are in proper grim territory here. The tempo is slow, the guitar picking is tremolo (fast picked), the bass is playing 4th notes and the drums are marching on. There are also some background flutes and instrumentation which are pleasantly arranged. Although repetitive, it musically invokes a feeling of longing and weariness with poetic lyrical themes to match.
I feel like while this is quite a decent piece of work, it is a beginning or a testing of the waters so to speak. I did notice after listening to this EP that a full album has been released within the past month so this EP isn’t Eriphions latest work. One song into that album and it’s clear that there is an exponential amount of growth in this project and with M.’s skill as a songwriter/producer. I would call this EP a humble beginning and worth a critical listen for the lyrical themes. Sure it’s a little haphazard and somewhat unfinished-sounding but there is a lot to learn and dissect from this little 4 track. The main subject; Vulnerbility.
Grab your copy of ‘Hossana’ HERE.