Varathron (GRE) – Walpurgisnacht LP
Beginning in the early 1990s, a handful of musicians in Greece established one of the most distinctive and compelling regional sounds associated with the Second Wave of Black Metal. Rotting Christ laid the foundation for this particular sound, and other acts immediately followed suit helping to define the Greek Black Metal sound and bring it to prominence within the international scene. The importance of Varathron’s contribution cannot be overstated. After releasing what is arguably the greatest Greek Black Metal album of all time, 1993’s “His Majesty at the Swamp,” Varathron recorded and released the superb follow-up, “Walpurgisnacht” two years later. Since that time, the overwhelming brilliance of the former has often overshadowed the fact that “Walpurgisnacht” is a classic album in its own right. From the outset, with the opening track, “Tleilaxu (The Unborn Child),” it is clear that “Walpurgisnacht” contains all of the characteristic traits of Greek Black Metal. The riffs are somber and melancholy, yet driven by a sense of mania, often suddenly giving way to slower, majestic passages firmly set in the Hellenic tradition. Reminiscent of the early recordings of Monumentum, on “Walpurgisnacht,” Varathron skillfully weave into the fabric of the album a slightly gothic influence producing an unearthly effect in which transient, morose interludes and subtle keyboard flourishes accentuate the album’s mystical feel.