REVIEW: VARATHRON – “Glorification Under The Latin Moon”
It’s easy to find great quality metal in Greece, especially in the black metal realm. Hellenic stalwarts like Necromantia, Thou Art Lord, Katavasia and Agatus easily come to mind, but Rotting Christ and Varathron may be the greatest acts in the genre for the country, with the former branching out as time passed and Varathron sticking to its roots, thus becoming the most important black metal band to come out of Greece, in my opinion.
Led by Stefanos “Stefan Necroabyssious” Karasavvas, the Greek horde have been releasing brutal albums full of legends, occultism, darkness and evilness, and this beauty here, ‘Glorification Under the Latin Moon’, is definitely a great way to crown the band’s achievements throughout history. Recorded in São Paulo, Brazil on August 24th, 2019 – in a show I was most proud of to have attended – the album captures some of Varathron’s rich discography, with special attention to the band’s masterpiece and one of the greatest black metal records of all time, ‘His Majesty at the Swamp’ (1993), played in its entirety at the second part of the show.
Starting with the awesome intro “Cultum Deus Aeternum” and “Ouroboros Dweller (The Dweller of Barathrum)”, the Greek provided a fierce adrenaline injection from the start with their unique brand of dark, melodic-tinged black metal. As this is a celebratory album, marking the band’s 30th anniversary, the songs were carefully selected and, while it majorly only covers the already mentioned ‘His Majesty at the Swamp’ and some tracks of the awesome ‘Patriarchs of Evil’ (2018), two of Varathron’s greatest compositions are also present here: ‘Walpurgisnacht’s “Cassiopeia’s Ode“, and the beautiful gem “Genesis of Apocryphal Desire”, originally released in the demo of the same name in 1990.
The execution and recording were top notch and the audio showcases almost exactly what we experienced that night. With the exception of some muffled chants and lowered crowd sounds, the atmosphere and overall aura are marvelously illustrated here. From the twin-riffing by Achilleas C. and Sotiris to the raw kitchen work by the duo Stratos (bass) and Haris (drums), everything sounds perfect and was captured to the smallest details.
Clearly, the second part of the show was the long-awaited one, and by the time the first chords of “His Majesty at the Swamp” started to be played, the atmosphere was already at its peak. The whole record being played in its entirety, the interaction with the crowd, and especially Stefan’s energetic, raw and emotional vocal display make every piece of the puzzle fit together in the record, giving a clear idea of how organic, passionate and special this live show was.
‘Glorification Under the Latin Moon’ is the ultimate live Varathron experience, and easily the best live album of the year so far alongside Septicflesh’s ‘Infernus Sinfonica MMXIX’. An instant classic, it transports the listener to that warm night that marked the last show of the band’s “30 Years Of Darkness Tour” and makes you realize – if you haven’t already – why the Greeks are one of the most respected black metal acts out there. Marvelous execution, a great semi-analogic production, and a legendary setlist make this album an almost masterpiece. All hail Varathron, patriarchs of evil.