I wanted to write a review – I really did – but when I started listening to ΑΧΕΡΟΝΤΑΣ’s Malocchio – The Seven Tongues of Δαημων for the first time as part of the initial reviewing process, an idea started to build in my mind. After acquainting myself with the album and further research into the deities that ΑΧΕΡΟΝΤΑΣ had listed in their tracklist, I decided to bite the bullet and discuss the concepts of ritual and transformation within this album. After all, evolution for a band is not always sonic or lyrical – sometimes, it’s something internal that comes to fruition after the new album is completed.
There is something to be said about using black metal as ethos as opposed to using the ideologies and themes set back in the second wave of the genre, it has become easier for bands to move past those labels and establish their own mythos. When bands seek to transform themselves in some way, the most obvious way to do it is to change their sound or shift their usual lyrical topics to something else they think is worth exploring. However, in some cases, the transformation can become literal, which can even include a new name. In the case of ΑΧΕΡΟΝΤΑΣ, formerly known as Acherontas, not only have they opted to embrace their esoteric mysticism and occultism, they have also opted to fully embrace their sonic changes as seen on their previous album, Psychic Death – The Shattering of Perceptions.
In Psychic Death, ΑΧΕΡΟΝΤΑΣ broke their own standard of black metal, which sounded similar to Rotting Christ, and opted to slowly integrate a slight black-n-roll sound that made their black metal sound more modern. However, the band also opted to keep their highly atmospheric, ritualistic themes at the forefront, setting the tone for a potential future release that would continue this sonic exploration, but remaining thematically rooted. With The Seven Tongues of Δαημων, ΑΧΕΡΟΝΤΑΣ has fully transformed into a vehicle of ritual worship, moving past the conventional labels of black metal as Satanic and more of black metal as occult study.
Thematically, The Seven Tongues of Δαημων is an accompaniment to the rituals associated with summoning the six deities listed by name, as each song depicts a call to them to “assist” the summoner. From asking about gaining more knowledge and helping to break away from a conformist outlook (“Lucifer Breath of Fire”) to hope for future resurrection and protection on the road to ascension (“Hecate Queen of the Underworld”), ΑΧΕΡΟΝΤΑΣ aims to use that grace to access knowledge in order to deify themselves. Each song is incredibly specific, detailing the deities’ specific epithets, the power they hold, and an exaltation to grant them the necessary power needed for deification. However, not only are they asking for protection along the way, but they are also invoking protection against the malocchio (“evil eye”). In the chance that an audience is granted, being able to commune with gods in order to gain form of power or knowledge can lead to envy from other acolytes who haven’t been able to reach the same result. Having this sort of protecting magic covering the ritual space – which is the album itself – allows for the various elements of LaVeyan Satanism, Thelema/Enochian magic, and Ancient Greek religion to blend together and allow the band to again deification (or something similar to that). While this may seem strange in practice, given that the superstition of the evil eye has been around since ancient times, it makes sense we are looking at a transformation that reflects at both the present and the past.
The final topic I want to discuss is what happens when you attain that knowledge and reach what the band calls “Drakon Apotheosis.” Given that this is the last track on the album, this suggests that ΑΧΕΡΟΝΤΑΣ have reached their ultimate goal as students of the occult – they have transformed and ascended as deities within this liminal space. While this transformation may only be seen as the band changing their name to its Greek spelling – this is now literal to us, the listeners – this signifies that the band has effectively moved toward new grounds, leading to “… a new era of continuing, forging all the bestial aspects of the Past to a shining athame that shapes the Future” (context). Whatever those new grounds are, we will have to wait and see that in a future album.
Malocchio – The Seven Tongues of Δαημων is available now on Zazen Sounds. For more information on ΑΧΕΡΟΝΤΑΣ, visit their Facebook page.