W.E.B. - For Bidens

W.E.B. For Bidens cover
For Bidens
No Regrets Records
This is the third full length release by Athens, Greece based dark metal band W.E.B. (stands for Where Everything Began). “For Bidens” finds the band having enhanced their sound even more after their 2008 release, “Jesus Heist”. I don’t know if this is the best thing W.E.B have ever released (it might be), one thing is for sure though, it’s the most diverse. In “For Bidens” you can find industrial, thrash, black, death as well as gothic metal elements combined with some references to the traditional music heritage of the band’s home country, Greece.
Thematically, “For Bidens” has divided among dealing with vampires, the fable of Lilith and Cain, ancient Greek mythology, the mystery of the pyramids as well as contemporary political issues.
Let’s take things one by one:
“Let There Be Night”, as the title suggests, serves as a dark and ominous intro of what’s about to follow.
And what follows is “Nightmares in Disguise”. Dark, fast and highly energetic with just a few industrial hints here and there, this track finds W.E.B. at their very best form. When I first heard this song I thought to myself “looks like those six years they took really paid off for them”. “Nightmares in Disguise” is definitely an ideal track to officially kick off the record and reintroduce the band’s music to the world.
Moving on we have the song from which the whole album gets its name. “For Bidens” is an excellent guitar driven, death metal track with some impressive choral and orchestral highlights which take the track to a whole new level. Definitely one of the album’s strong points.
It’s almost tradition for at least one industrial track to exist in a W.E.B. record. This time, that’s track #4, “God Plays Dead”. With a tight guitar riff as the backbone, the band delivers a dark and yet energetic track, which stirs things up and changes pace.
Then they’re back for some fine orchestral black metal, with “Eligos” (the Greek word for “vertigo” and, according to demonology, also the name of the demon that decided the fate of battles). Once again W.E.B. have produced a powerful track, maybe not the best in the whole album (since the bar has been set really high by the previous tracks), but a highly enjoyable one nevertheless.
Next is “Crimson Dawn” with its ominous oriental atmosphere. It’s actually not so much a track as it is a mood setter and a transition piece.
So, after this transition, the groundwork is done for one of the best tracks, not just in “For Bidens”, but in W.E.B.’s career so far, “The Prince of 1000 Frozen Suns”. Starting out with a calm yet ominous eastern exotic intro, this track manages to combine beautifully the loud, blastbeat, black metal verse with an equally dark and yet melodic chorus accompanied by an epic and incredibly catchy guitar riff. All this is breaking down to an extraordinary guitar solo, only to end up full circle right back to the eastern wasteland it came in.
Next we have “Malaise”. Perhaps this would be a mediocre track if it wasn’t for Cristianna’s (Elysion’s lead singer) emotional vocals. Instead, her contribution to the song, as well as the contrast between Sakis and Cristianna is what makes “Malaise” what it is. Of course, the excellent guitar work does not go unnoticed.
It’s not that common to find a political track in a mystical themed record like “For Bidens”. That’s why “Night Funeral” might appear a bit out of place. The song talks about 16-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos’ death by the bullet of a local police officer at the center of Athens, Greece back in 2008. Even though it’s actually a pretty tight song and, musically, it flows seamlessly through the record, I feel that it wanders a bit too far from the rest of the album thematically. It can be argued that lyrically, “The Prince of 1000 Frozen Suns” also has a political undertone dealing with how governments treat the masses. Nevertheless, the sound bites of today’s newscasters reporting on a young boy’s death in “Night Funeral” was, to my ears at least, a sort of hard landing from the ancient and mystical east to today’s brutalities. Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed it if the tracks that follow also reminded me of the present, but they don’t.
I am going to treat the last three tracks in “For Bidens” as one. I’m talking about “Clamor Lunar Part I: Clamor Rex”, “Part II: Regina Est” and “Part III: Regnum Sanguinis”. They’re all about the story of Cain and Lilith.
“Part I: Clamor Rex” finds Cain crying about his fate accompanied by acoustic guitars and violins. A dark lament of a man who knows he’s already dammed.
“Part II: Regina Est” combines the story of Lilith and Cain (which lead to his aphorism), with a dark poem about Greek vampires written by Aristotelis Valaoritis (1824-1879), entitled “Vrikolakas”. The way I see it (and I could be wrong) is that the point of this song is how history repeats its self. “Lilith est Regina” is the chorus chanting as this symphonic black metal track unfolds. It’s true that the Greek language is a “rough-sounding” enough to make an impressive contrast with the string section and the operatic choruses featured in this song.
And finally, “Part III: Regnum Sanguinis” is basically Lilith singing to Cain when they’re both on top of their “red kingdom”. With Androniki Skoula’s (Chaostar) amazing operatic vocal abilities and with a pretty powerful orchestral composition, this is the perfect track to bring the album to a close.
All in all, I don’t think “For Bidens” is the best metal record ever released, but it sure is an impressive one. You can tell that a lot of work went into it; it has a clear, crisp and near perfect production sound, beautiful orchestral musical compositions, great guitar riffs and, although I was never a fan of this specific kind of “singing”, I have to admit it works this time. It’s been 6 years since the band’s last release, but this album was totally worth it.