Since it's regal beginnings, Greece has always seen a high level of exciting culture and well deserved pride. Starting out as nothing more than warring territories, when united, the country began to grow at an alarming rate in terms of innovation, producing many ideals and systems that are still being used to this day. While eyes were mostly lain upon Scandinavia during the early 90's second wave black metal boom, the Greek black metal scene was also going through somewhat of a blossoming, producing legions of quality bands, each with certain elements that would come to define the term "Hellenic black metal". Released in 1996, top tier band Deviser's debut album Unspeakable Cults
is the pinnacle of the Greek black metal, demonstrating the genre at it's glorious peak.
Instead of concentrating on blindingly fast tempos and raw dissonance, Unspeakable Cults
lays much more emphasis on the use of strong and indelible melodies. Guitarist Vag and keyboardist Nick Christogianis work well together, successfully intertwining elegant atmospherics with straightforward mid paced guitar or harmonized riffs. While many bands tend to overuse the keyboard, Christogianis does well to keep his playing tasteful, adding many different textures and flavors to the music without ever delving into overindulgence. In particular, his work on the second track "Darkness Incarnate" is markedly breathtaking, creating a supremely majestic atmosphere through the use of minimalistic yet sophisticated synth lines. While each member is talented in their own right, it really is the work of Christogianis that spurs the record to sheer perfection.
There really is no standout track on Unspeakable Cults
; each and every song contains facets of brilliance that keep them distinguishable from the tracks preceding and following it. "Threnody" includes a fantastically melodic recurring guitar lead while the two minute instrumental "Ritual Orgy" keeps itself interesting with the use of a neo-classical piano segment, accompanied by a truly sublime choral chant. "Dangers of a Real and Concrete Nature" reveal the talent of drummer Labis, who skillfully creates generative beats and fills with apparent ease. Deadly accurate with his arms, the source of his excellence no doubt come from his exemplary double bass work which can be seen on tracks such as "Stand & Deliver" and "When The Nightmare Begins". Providing some top notch bottom end is bassist Spyros whose playing adds well appreciated depth and fullness to the music. Also, he provides a sickeningly catchy bass lead on the outro "Afterkill" complimented more beautiful, sweeping keyboards. Vocally, Matt Hnaras provides little variation,(although he does have a stand out performance on "The Rape Of Holiness") yet his rather visceral high pitched growls never grow tiresome at all.
Not only is Unspeakable Cults
an adroit album on it's lonesome, but it also very much acts as a great introduction to Hellenic black metal, a scene that very much has its own style and quite frankly is filled with some of the best bands in the genre. Keen on melodies, don't let the accessibility of Unspeakable Cults
act as a deterrent for delving farther into Deviser's excellent catalog, for it is an album that contains something for everyone. Sounding as fresh and exciting as it did in 1996, Unspeakable Cults
is an undisputed classic that everyone should be aware of.