The circle yet expands for Athens, Greece based occult black metal ordo Disharmony unto Tagma Magia Disharmony, a newly intensified incursion upon the light in the world, as a bolt of ragged and cryptic melodic black metal magick risen beyond their rebirthed orthodoxy in 2014. From two temporal gates conjures Kapala King V aka Damien King III, the voice and the director, who’d co-birth amateur psychedelic witchcraft amongst friends with a trio of demos starting in 1991 with ‘Day of Doom‘. Atmosphere was everything on that first wave black metal influenced first gasp as the guitarist surely had no idea what he was doing until the second demo (‘Angels Lament‘, 1992) where this early work was then distinct in personality, employing a modus not far from the dark acts of Samael, Denial of God, and Christ Agony. From there the emergence of popular acts across Athens would inform this strangely ‘heavy metal’ sounding doomed black metal towards a peak on the ‘The Gate of Deeper Sleep‘ (1993) EP. This was more-or-less the end and closure of the first temporal portal of Disharmony and a separate but equal reality would burst forth in 2017 with the release of their debut full-length, ‘Goddamn the Sun‘. No longer a tangle of fumbled rhythm and doubly viable in conceptual vision, the grand return of Disharmony was undoubtedly one of the finest ‘comeback’ records in recent memory from a band that few remembered; Their focus was steadfast with a theatrically viable heavy metal spin upon distinctly Greek black metal atmospherics, entirely in line with how it’d been intended back in ’92 or so. From triumph the order now delivers four songs hidden from sight in 2018 alongside a captivating black mass, carried out by Kapala King V himself.
Although this is technically a reissue the ultra-limited nature (100 cassettes) of that release means only a hundred or so folks have heard these fine songs prior. Those first copies of ‘Messe De Minuit’ were released by Iron Bonehead Productions at the first edition of their co-curated (with Nuclear War Now! Productions) Never Surrender Festival in Germany, the second of which took place in Oakland this October. This also marked an exclusive live performance from the band. So, it was a special occasion and unless those one hundred people with a copy of the tape brought walkmans, few knew what an incredible jewel of Greek black metal majesty they’d behold. This CD and 12″ vinyl release of the EP includes those four songs originally included as well as a 20+ minute bonus track that is quite literally what I’d stated it is: A black mass or, Satanic midnight mass that fades into ambiance and an explosion of harsh noise ’til it completes dramatically as the Gate closes. In terms of this greatly appreciated bonus track, Hail Satan. Though I am even more spiritually enthused, compelled towards the dark, by the four songs here.
‘Messe de Minuit’ is the first and only release to feature guitarist Paul Papathanasiou aka Mephistopheles of Drama Noir whose style and perspective in terms of songwriting is perhaps closer attuned to the early works of Rotting Christ compared to the previous guitarist Deathstalker, who’d been a big part of ‘Goddamn the Sun’. Returning as guests are the fantastic talents of Maelstrom (Ectoplasma, Embrace of Thorns) and bassist Echetleos (Caedes Cruenta, Kawir) though the drums and guitars are the driving force of these ancient sounding black metal songs. Keyboards are the toughest adornment for this rhythmically wobbling, classic heavy metal tuned form of black metal and I think keyboardist N.C.M. (Caedes Cruenta, The Gates of Sinn) manages to invoke the sounds of early Kawir and Varathron (maybe Nergal, too) when he is allowed to lead, I think this works brilliantly with Mephistopheles‘ work here. The only reason to dive so deep into the staff here is to highlight what a talented crew the band has employed for this and the previous album, these are some of the best talents in Greek black metal this last decade and each truly understands the old ways; As soon as “Hail the Witch” chimes in you’ll feel it and no doubt quickly hear the difference between these straightforward songs and the more meandering spirit of ‘Goddamn the Sun’.
“Hail the Witch” itself sounds extremely close to recent Denial of God records in terms of vocal pattern and ‘heavy metal’ song structure and it is the one track on this EP that doesn’t directly recall the heydays of Rotting Christ and Varathron circa ’90-’96. Crypt wails and ghostly keyboards feature prominently from the very start providing a fantastic early second wave black metal atmosphere that is, again, unmistakably Greek in its expression. As a die-hard fan of this style I was in foaming daimonian seizure before the first track had finished. “By the Moonlight” similarly cuts straight to its ecstatic celebration of old with a lead hook worthy of Side B on ‘Thy Mighty Contract’ or, ‘Theogonia’ for that matter. This is exciting enough as a fan of this style but, the other two songs (“Into the Tomb”, “Corpus Christi”) explore what I’d consider an untapped (or unattainable) void where records like ‘Triarchy of the Lost Lovers’ exists. I’m not suggesting that Rotting Christ is the only band to ever sound like this but instead that Disharmony‘s latest EP particularly invokes the best period of that project. Beyond that note, these are the most catchy and instantaneously hooking pieces we’ve gotten from this project to date. An inspiring and spiritually enriching event.
High recommendation. 4.0/5.0
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