PHAËTHON – Wielder Of The Steel

PHAËTHON – Wielder Of The Steel
Gates of Hell Records
Released Year:
1. Eternal Hammerer2. Vanguard of the Emperor3. For the Greater Good of Evil4. Tolls of Perdition5. Blasphemers6. Forgotten Gods7. Phaëthon Must Fall8. Wielder of the Steel

Most of the times, when we discuss about Epic Heavy Metal, we bring in our minds a music with triumphant rhythms, soaring melodies, galloping riffs and anthemic choruses. But that’s one approach of epic-ness in classic heavy metal or metal in general. There can be and of course there are, many approaches to that term and we have seen many bands in black metal or death metal for example, to approach that term from a totally different perspective. The lyrics and the subjects of battles, wars, legendary tales of valor and heroism, usually are the common ground between all those perspectives, as well as the overall concept of triumph and battle emotion.

I would say, that the debut album of PHAËTHON, named ‘’The Wielder Of Steel’’, which follows the very successful EP ‘’ Sacrifice Doth Call’’, is attempting a very interesting and dynamic approach in the term of Epic Heavy Metal. In their EP, they had a more classic approach to the term, whereas in their debut full-length things change and take a different path or direction, to the same end though.

In ‘’The Wielder Of Steel’’, PHAËTHON have acquired a darker and more aggressive tone in their metal. They continue to play classic heavy metal, but now in an extensive primitive old school way.

In many parts, it feels like they wanted to present the epic themes from an evil or unholy side, which brings in mind classic bands like VENOM, MERCYFUL FATE or even RUNNING WILD (first two black / evil albums era) and a time when all those bands were called ‘’black metal bands’’.  The lyrics are epic but also dark and shadowy. Of course, the classic parts are not absent.

Phaethon at The Arch Recording Studio, Brian Sayle Photography

‘’Eternal Hammerer’’ combines all the aforementioned elements with the raw attitude that VENOM used to present and the guitars of Vrath and Decado reminds black-ish ‘’tremolo – picking’’ while the voice of Vrath has also a harsh and black-ish style. ‘’Vanguard of the Emperor’’ is a more traditional epic song, that has a beautiful violent anthemic character.

The strong imposing voice of Vrath shines in ‘’For The Greater Good Of Evil’’ which is a NWOBHM style song, with all the changes that he is experimenting from clean vocals, to harsh and vice-versa or even screams reminding of KING DIAMOND.

‘’Tolls Of Perdition’’ that follows in the album, starts with an emblematic narration, is a personal favorite. I really enjoyed the bass lines of Aees because they brought to my mind MANOWAR’s epic bass lines and especially those of ‘’Pleasure Slave’’.  Absolutely amazing song with a lot of changes in voice and style, from classic heavy metal like MERCYFUL FATE, to aggressive folk in the style of SABBAT (UK) and Martin Walkyier, shrouded with THIN LIZZY touches.

‘’ Blasphemers’’ is a song that has intriguing black metal riffing combined with anthemic vocals. ‘’Forgotten Gods’’ continues with the same black energy and I really enjoyed the clenching fist – battle roar in the middle of the song. ‘’Phaëthon Must Fall’’ narrates with splendid riffing and thundering bass the tale of the fall of Phaethon, the son of Sun in greek mythology, who wanted to ride his father’s chariot recklessly and that resulted in his doom. This is a myth against hybris, that a careful listener should look upon.

The self-titled ‘’ Wielder of the Steel’’ closes the album in the proper way, if I may say and the pounding natural drumming of Oskarath needs to be highlighted. As far as the natural sound of the album is concerned, I would like to mention that it was recorded in The Arch Recording Studio in Southport, England, which was formerly an old Methodist Church. That set up enabled PHAËTHON to track the rhythm section (drums, two guitars and bass) together, allowing them to sound like a band and not a collection of individual instruments.

The debut album of PHAËTHON is entailing so many elements and that is not an ordinary thing. On the contrary, it has a special beauty that needs to be carefully listened to and appreciated, by a careful listener, that adores Epic Heavy Metal, in all different variations or expressions.

‘’Wielder Of The Steel’’ will be released on the 30th of August 2024, by Gates Of Hell Records and will be available on LP, CD and Digital formats.

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