In Dante’s Inferno, the Acheron is the river that serves as the border to Hell. In more general Greek mythology, it was known as the river of woe or pain and it is the one that the immortal boatman Charon ferries the dead across. It is this what VINCENT CROWLEY’s newest album concerns itself with, what lies Beyond Acheron?
Where No Light Shines describes the passage across the river, a coin to the ferryman and the fulfilment of an eternal task. Stylistically, it’s remarkable that I’ve not really encountered this band before. With bands like BEHEMOTH having such popularity, it becomes odd to think that something like this could go unnoticed. There’s catchy riffs, interesting solos and an almost anthemic quality to the lyrics here.
My Eternal Vow continues the interest developed in the previous track although much more melodically. There’s elements within this song that almost feel like they are imperfect leitmotifs. For example, in the previous song the lyrics “Where no light shines” was a really effective hook. The bulk of the song had a pleasing ebb and flow, attracting and releasing the listener. In this song this style of hook helps to bind the tracks together and make the album feel more cohesive.
La Muerte is a curious track. The name literally means “The Death” and the lyrics concern the personification of death found often in western canon. La Muerte however tends to refer to a separate personification. In Mexican folklore, Death is not the masculine robed figure with the scythe. Instead she isn’t regarded as a dead human and is associated with healing and passage to the afterlife. I’d be curious to know why this title was chosen, although I must admit La Muerte does sound a lot cooler in this context than Death.
It was about this point in my listening through the album that I realised I could not approach it as just a collection of songs. Instead I must regard each track as chapters of a book; each one is not complete without the others and that’s pretty cool. I’m a fan of concept albums that hook you in straight away and make you lose an hour because everything flows seamlessly. I feel to say too much more would be to give away a plot point, and to over egg the pudding.
But… There is one more track I’d like to discuss.
Farewell At Death’s Door is the penultimate track, and it blew me away. It blew me away in a very weird kind of way. In 2019, CANDLEMASS released the track Astorolus – The Great Octopus, since that point I’ve been searching for a follow up to it. There’s a very specific vibe that’s shared between them grand but not fancy, epic but not joyful. If you enjoyed that track way back in 2019, go and listen and see if you can understand what I’m driving at.
This is a remarkable achievement and I regret that it took me so long to get around to giving it a listen. This isn’t your typical black metal, death metal or even blackened death metal. Each lyric paints a vivid picture, each riff and beat builds the narrative, and each song brings a new discovery and a macabre sense of wonder.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Beyond Acheron is out now.
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