Aherusia - Prometheus: Seven Principles on How to Be Invincible

Aherusia Prometheus: Seven Principles on How to Be Invincible cover
Prometheus: Seven Principles on How to Be Invincible
Prime Eon Media
Aherusia is a Grecian music collective that was started prior to the turn of the millennium as a project that revolved around their frontman/singer/guitarist (sometimes even bassist) Voreas Faethon. They didn’t properly “debut” until ten years later, with their 2009 “And the Tides Shall Reveal the Traces” opus, which was produced by Rotting Christ’s frontman Sakis and featured artwork by Septic Flesh’s frontman Seth, almost immediately attracting favorable reviews and comparisons that atypically sort of placed them as a potentially next big thing out of Greece in extreme metal, but remained “sleeping” even as the band released and toured a sophomore album “As I Cross the Seas of My Soul” a few years later, due to the fact that they weren’t absolutely able to capture the sound that they were after, due to some production issue.
Taking a few diversions, such as writing a few poems and prose and having them published, Voreas kept working tirelessly on their third album, “Prometheus”, a conceptual album based on the myth of the titan progenitor of humankind, who suffered a punishment worse than death for his transgression of passing them the gift of fire, which was divine, to the humans, thus freeing them from being slaves to the gods, but with a twist in their own interpretation of the myth, Prometheus becomes an almost messianic figure, by choosing to suffer of his own free will to liberate humanity of their fears. (existential and otherwise)…
Writing the lyrics for the entire (*) album in Common Hellenistic/Koine Greek (a form of Ancient Greek that was incredibly popular in the post-Alexandrian world, the New Testament was actually written in it) was a very daring wager that could have backfired spectacularly, but instead pays in dividends, lending a rare beauty and incredible depth to them, as they read very much like poetry. (A Modern Greek and a English translation with some poetic licenses, but trying to keep the rhythm and feel intact are available in the booklet of the dual CD)…
The band rehearsed ferociously in the studio, performing the album countless times live before recording it live and just did a few overdubs, which couldn’t be done live (ie multiple guitar parts) and vocals after, keeping edits to a bare minimum while the whole project was overseen by Jim Douvras (who’d been responsible for Rotting Christ’s “Aealo” among many other projects). This somewhat unlikely approach in these days where everything is perfectly edited and quantized, wielded an album that sounds incredibly warm, despite its harshness, lively and pulsating as a beating heart, grooving like a mothefucker in places, but also putting the pedal to the metal and going berserk when it should.
It sounds very much like the equivalent of an ancient tragedy with Maiden and Running Wild riffs all over it.
And while many people might lament the lack of a lyre, in recent recordings and live performances, this album manages to sound just as epic and folk-inspired as any of their previous if not even-more-so, by borrowing heavily from the rich Greek music tradition and adapting all those elements in a way that feels very natural. “Prometheus” is by far the band’s most ambitious endeavor, but also one that manages to completely bring their vision to life, in a way that’s truly spectacular.
“Ανάσα Ἀνασσα – Breath” is an instrumental intro just heavy breathing and sighs over some traditional sounding riffy invention that invokes images of the Ancient Times trying to get people in the proper mood for “Ανάβασις – Ascending: Martyrdom’s Crown” a pretty brutal track, with a few twists and turns that might begin with an epic chant, but soon introduces itself through a riff that repeats meanly, over as Prometheus decides to “die/be bound” for mankind, knowing that they will still make mistakes and not heed his warnings. An almost too poignant “sacrifice”. The track dares to mix clean choral parts, only to repeat them with chthonic growls a few seconds later, in a way echoing Prometheus martyrdom. It does so in a way that doesn’t tire and instead sounds almost as if it belongs to a twisted black/epic metal soundtrack… painting an aural canvas in the same way as jodorovski paints his moving pictures.
“Ἀσκι Κατάσκη – As Light Defeats the Darkness” has the “Ephesian Words” quoted during it’s opening as they were on Artemis, Ephesian temple and follows Prometheus as he descends to Tartarus (The Realm of the Damned Dead) but decided to not lose his courage, even as he is facing punishment. The incredibly inspired and catchy bass riff is followed by a really “hellish” first verse, disrupted by a very tribal female laden part (by vocalist Angel Wolf), which actually makes a very clever use of a Traditional Thracian tune (“To Margoudi” & “O Alexandris”) only to have a huge metallic response, after the short break in one of the most inspired ways I’ve heard in recent years… like 3 totally different moods in roughly a minute that stabilize only to lead into a very maidenesqe enchange of guitar as soon as they run out of lyrics… probably one of the most inspired songs I’ve heard this year.
“Ἀνώνυμος – Anonymous” also begins with a quote, with Prometheus claiming that through the centuries, he’s faced nothing but opposition and adversity. He feels sorrow, pain by also compassion as humanity fails to heed his words of warning and instead turns into warring, infighting and loses its sights from virtue. Even so, he chooses torment over an easy solution and leaves mankind to its own devices. A pretty brutal track, for its more part, with a very cool, almost byzantine spoken part that is then followed by a clean version of the chorus, as Prometheus laments mankind’s fall, but decides not to intervene the tune reverts back to an epic sounding instrumental/lead portion and comes full circle by repeating it’s intro as an outro, something akin to a lot of traditional dances, from which that intro might have taken a small token-loan from…
In “Δαμάζων Χάη – Taming Chaos” Hecate (a rather ambiguous ancient deity that’s very closely related with occult/witchcraft and is a bit of a nocturnal anti-paragon goddess with a few benevolent sides) shoots an arrow to illuminate the Abyss in a way allowing Prometheus to find his way out of the Underworld… it’s a pretty epic track that takes quest from the epic Bathory albums and Manowar, mixes it with a lot of Greek ways and sounds positively amazing while doing it (it again reprises that Thracian folk song, but in a riffier, more metallic way), which is pretty neat.
“Προφητεία – A Prophecy” takes a look at humanity, which without the guidance of Prometheus, turns into infighting while striving for dominance. In what ensues, many perish… it’s epic intro is followed by a slow marching style beat, during which the various mishaps that befall mankind are being recounted… just in time before putting you to sleep, there’s a clean reprisal of the second verse over an even increasing beat that becomes wilder all the time to lead to the final couple of verses, where the first signs of change begin to show, as the song reprises it’s opening riff for a short while.
“Ὠκεανός – Ocean” is the only not original track – in fact it’s an Orphic hymn set to music by Aherusia that in the grand scheme of the album is a plea, to another Titan Oceanus, the divine personification of the sea, an enormous river encircling the world to cleanse with his waters the world and absolve it of its “sins”. It’s a very “post” black metal tune that very slowly has the words of the hymn spoken over almost six minutes, only to close with a Titanic Epic Black Metal reprisal of the 2 verses of the hymn in under two minutes, kind of waking you up…
Last but not least, Aherusia goes prog (not really) but chooses to extend Prometheus return to humanity and the world of the living over the almost dozen minute long “Βίας kαί Κράτους Θραύσας Δεσμά – Breaking the Chains of Atrocity”, a tune that almost contradicts the rest of the album by having at first an almost couple of introductory minutes filled by a repetitive nice riff, only to follow it for another couple of minutes by some rather maidenesque inventions to then erupt after the fourth minute with Prometheus resurrection/ascension, after he decided to free himself and humanity alongside with him, from sin and fear, only by simply choosing to do so... easy but not “too easy” as humanity had to learn from its mistakes. A couple of more minutes go back with another, happy theme, before that turns into an almost celebratory paean, which reaches a pseudoclimax, only to repeat itself in even a more joyous reprisal, which is surmised by Prometheus proclamation during the very outro, that the only thing worth remembering is that against all odds the mortal men managed to survive all their trials and tribulation by his example.
Across the bottom of the very terse but also incredibly artistic booklet, which makes use of a detail from “The Sacred Wound” a 2,5x0.90m wood carving made by Fotis Varthis (very reminiscent of Tassos, a world renowned carver), there’s a huge message. Fear is only a choice (meaning you can also choose to free yourself from it, but you need to experience it and rise above it, not as self-punishment, but as a means of attaining virtue. The message of this twisted “take” on the Promethean lore is very apropos, as it applies very fittingly to all eras from the far past up to our current condition.
“Prometheus” feels like the more discerning and sophisticated cousin of albums like “Non Serviam” and “The Ophidian Wheel”, drawing inspiration from them, but also feeling unique all of its own. Dismissing this album as a “Rotting Christ” sound-a-like would really be a pity as this feels much different in scope than anything Sakis and company have ever done, especially the last years (with no disrespect to them)….
Indirectly challenging the primacy of bands like Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh, by upping the ante and releasing their best album yet, I wholeheartedly feel that Aherusia now can be considered to be on a similar level as their progenitors, or about to get there. TITAN-IC (not the ship)…