Review Summary: Rorcal depict the tragedy of Antigone in their most blackened release to date.
In Sophocles' tragedy Antigone
, one thing observable about Creon, the newly crowned King of Thebes, is the change he undergoes. He is initially presented as a tyrannical force intent on maintaining order in his kingdom, refusing to bury Polynices following his posthumous defeat in the land's civil war - the ultimate ignonimy. As consequence of doing so, however, Creon loses the family closest to him - his wife, Eurydice and his son, Haimon (also Antigone's fiancé) - and blaming himself, concludes the play a broken man, declaring that he is deserving of death. Rorcal present his story through their own apocalyptic lens, and successfully illustrate the savagery of the play and the fall of a king.
The Swiss quintet have themselves undergone a change in the creation of Creon
. 'A change' should come as little surprise to those already familiar with the band's constantly evolving brand of sludge, but Creon
opens a new chapter for Rorcal, it being their first album which is arguably more blackened than anything else. The third track, 'Haemon', highlights this shift perfectly, bearing more semblance to the winding nature of Icelandic black metal than it does to the plodding malevolence of Heliogabalus
. Throughout in fact, guitarists Diogo Almeida and JP Schopfer seem further from grimy, impenetrable riffs than they ever have done; instead, they focus on forming a tremolo-picked, melancholic wall, taking a seat slightly further back to allow Yonni Chapatte's vicious roars to puncture through. The sludge influences are still present (for example the starts of both 'Antigone' and 'Eurydice), but more as a tool to assert a foreboding atmosphere, rather than creating abyssal depths. Ron Lahyani's blood-and-thunder approach on the drums hurtles each track into its inevitable blackened oblivion - yet, the most interesting facet is the mixture of paroxysmal fury and control that is maintained by all five members. For lack of better wording, Creon
is tight, calculated and all the more effective for it.
By refusing to settle on one established sound, Rorcal have managed to once more reinvigorate themselves while keeping the intensity that they've become reknowned for. As an afterthought, it's a peculiar idea that a play written 2500 years ago by a Greek tragedian is still being adapted to this day - not least by a blackened sludge group from Switzerland. I wonder what Sophocles would have thought of it.