PROMETHEUS – Resonant Echoes From Cosmos of Old (2020)REVIEW

Son of Iapetus, surpassing all in cunning, you are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire — a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be.” — Of cursed foresight and thievery, the lampadedromia in passage of life from one generation to the next symbolizes this plagued and inevitable end when said life grows tired enough in racing relay to snuff itself out. Today we concern ourselves not with the follies of titan-assisted downfall but a series of six descriptive epics under the tutelage of Prometheus, each channeling alchemical energies, hallucinations, and the Lovecraftian insanity resultant in view of pulsating and indomitable ancient ones. Long assaulted by the stars and housed by the inveterate gravitas of black metal Thessaloniki, Greece-based troupe Prometheus return for a second act offering new and glorious peaking in view of horrors, dimensional chasms, and Outer Gods. ‘Resonant Echoes From Cosmos of Old‘ does not deign itself to pour over old and well-carved paths in its liquid aggress yet its constituent particles cannot escape their construct by common matter — That is to say that known medium is used to craft bespoke, picturesque mural of old ‘Gods’, all of it attainable and undeniably artful in construct.

It would be fair to argue that Prometheus didn’t appear entirely ‘pure’ on their occult stargazing demos back in the late 2000’s yet this is a bit revisionist, the narrow corridors of 90’s black metal were long gone by the time their first demo track (‘Cosmogenesis: Inferno‘, 2007) and impressive mini-CD (‘Beyond the Cosmic Twilight‘, 2007) had released. At that point the band was a one man project featuring guitarist, bassist and synth-worker Esophis under his Typhoeus stage name Triton Draconis Occulta and that first EP/demo was impressive, entirely dense and presented with considerable spectral energy for the time period. The bell was struck but nothing came of this first stage in the band’s spiritual birth until the project would resurrect as a trio a decade later for a debut album (‘Consumed in Flames‘, 2017) which was more or less in keeping with some of the classic black and blackened death metal sensibilities of old. It is a fine album of occult black metal and perhaps the ‘obvious’ debut the band needed to produce before meditating upon a more substantially extreme work. That isn’t to say that ‘Resonant Echoes From Cosmos of Old’ takes a giant leap beyond past efforts but that it finds a point of view and basks in it deeply, resulting in a much finer and more focused release.

What does it sound like, then? The challenge of breaking Prometheus‘ style of black/death metal down into its more obvious influences and alchemical ‘parts’ and not appearing reductive is considerable as some of these observations will point towards the occasionally clashing moments created by their admixture. We start with a mantra, a crawling death metallic introduction that slithers and roars without fanfare as “Gravitons Passing through Yog-Sothoth” gives way to some melodramatic tremolo surge, emphasizing the cosmic setting of the subject and stating the perspective of the piece up front; Celestial synths chime in to emphasize the original riff-mantra atop the swarm it has built into. Placing this piece as the introduction to the album isn’t a typical choice as it would normally feature in the middle of a record, developing some intense rhythmic structures without context and forcing the listener to creep forward with the song. At this point the first contemporary band that comes to mind is Xul ov Kvlten, a project with similar influences and narrative qualities though they land with far less subtle development. It isn’t yet obvious unless you’ve some history with Prometheus‘ past release but as the album progresses some influence from Morbid Angel (“Azathoth”) and later Emperor (“Astrophobos”) are a given but they are not the be-all/end-all statement in dissection of this album’s innards. With that said, fans of those crossing streams will find some absolute joyous marvel within the guitar compositions on ‘Resonant Echoes From Cosmos of Old’, as did I.

Instead of parsing through the events of each of the five main pieces here I’d prefer to keep my observations fairly simple and back up those earlier claims of clashing worlds, sometimes to great effect and others amounting to average or par riffcraft. “Azathoth” is both a blackened ‘Blessed are the Sick’ delight and the least compelling composition on offer, and occult dredge via ritualistic shaping wherein the punkish interim riffcraft doesn’t quite land without some headier dissonance; This is not a huge issue, though it doesn’t hold up well to further listening beyond the intense vocal presence. Even if it’d only been a short while between the ‘Astrophobos’ EP from this May ’til now they’ve either reworked or adorned those pieces and showcased them as Side A of this album. “Astrophobos” itself is the eye of the storm, a reading of the H.P. Lovecraft poem via blackened death metal. If nothing has been added then chalk it up to auditory hallucination but, I’d felt more keyboard/synth presence in each song as well as possible re-amp or re-recording of certain lead guitar runs.

Side B of this album will be the freshest material for the already indoctrinated and in keeping with the vortex at the center of this album it’s title track is the apex of its climb featuring a stunning respite that leans into atmospheric black metal ebb and briefly harmonized lead guitars to illustrate the great peak of the experience. Therein lies the core value of the experience in summary, the appreciable illustration of theme and the entertaining dance between black metal introspection and cosmic blackened death metal grandeur. Seeing the stars and warping to them in one considerable bout is both a ‘known’ feeling and a rare, cherish one. This proves impressive at such a high rate of expression. No piece is more exemplar of this spectacle than the closer “The Crimson Tower Of The Headless God”, of which I will suggest you allow yourself to discover naturally at the end of a full listen.

Prometheus will inspire further listening from those who stalk the veil between black and death metal but they do not mutilate the mythos that guides them, that is to say that this is their heightened exploration of grand visions, a painterly mechanism of the epic witness. If you’ve found yourself knowing these pieces and losing the thread along the way then some of the core madness of the experience has probably sunken in, intended or not. If we are considering ancient thought, personal introspective dwelling, and imaginative strokes of Lovecraft horrors then this is an appropriate result. To be lost in ‘Resonant Echoes From Cosmos of Old’ is an exceptional feeling and that cosmic enthrallment is the main reason why I’d give moderately high recommendation of the experience. You couldn’t miss its revelation if you’ve a true mind for black and death metal forms.

Moderately high recommendation. (75/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Resonant Echoes From Cosmos of Old
LABEL(S):I, Voidhanger Records
RELEASE DATE:October 23rd, 2020
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Black Metal,
Blackened Death Metal

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