Mythology and metal have never been an odd match, there is a long-storied tradition of musicians from every subgenre exploring the folklore of many cultures – Norse, Egyptian, Greek to name a few. In this respect, Phaëthon is not treading new ground. However, what does make them distinct is their background. While we are accustomed to seeing delineation between traditional and extreme metal, it’s no secret that most death and black metal musicians are deeply reverent of early heavy metal pioneers and their offshoots. Phaëthon fits precisely this mold as two of the main musicians are seasoned veterans of the UK extreme underground.
By the late 80s, Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin was already a seasoned veteran vocalist with a varied resume. He had already sung on Jag Panzer’s Ample Destruction; a rough around the edges US Power Metal classic that needs no introduction. Shortly afterwards, he ventured into more occult dwellings with Satan Host’s Metal from Hell – an album that was equal parts Jag Panzer and Venom. Not one to be limited by choice, Tyrant joined Titan Force in 1987 in what proved to be a near 180 from his previous musical ventures. Titan Force represented the more melodic and progressive side of the US Power Metal spectrum, one which placed emphasis on non-linear songwriting but more importantly – strong vocal harmonies.
Musically, Borrowed Time broadly falls into the “epic metal” spectrum – there are obvious odes to heavy metal like the bands from early the NWOBHM (Iron Maiden, Angel Witch), but also Manilla Road and Brocas Helm. What would separate Borrowed Time from other similar acts is the strong emphasis of melody and purposefully lo-fi production in the mix.
Toca Madera are another act joining the fray, playing in the vein of early 80s Spanish Metal like Barón Rojo, Ángeles del Infierno and Panzer (the name is a reference to their most famous album) among others. With 5 songs clocking in roughly at 25 minutes, the self-titled EP captures the exact feel of those first Spanish records: a gritty, unpolished tribute that sounds somewhere between late 70s hard rock, early NWOBHM and edging on speed metal at times.
Magnus Venator comes out officially on 4th of September, 2020 by Floga Records. Now you can hear it, an exercise in modern Hellenic black metal, in its entirety here as a Ride Into Glory exclusive and read an interview with the band’s guitarist Astrous.
With Anamneses, Alexandros’s intention is to create a bridge between the past and the future of Macabre Omen. Although this is a daunting task to do with just one song, Anamneses from the Past (Sirens Calling) does just that.
Musically, Moontowers straddle the line between 80s traditional metal like Manowar (Sign of the Hammer) and epic doom ala Candlemass or Solitude Aeternus.
As heavy metal grew in Spain during the 1980s, metal bands appeared in all regions of the country. In the midst of this explosion, on the 14th of August 1988, a new act by the name of Su Ta Gar played their first concert in the small village of Ondarru. Unlike their regional peers, they sung completely in Euskera (Basque). While this might not seem like a big deal, heavy metal there had always been delivered in Spanish to achieve the widest appeal possible. Euskera was reserved for the punk-influenced acts of the Basque radical rock scene. They were received with thunderous support and this was the spark that would push them forward, not knowing the legacy they were about to create.
You have the more aggressive vocals and a fast tempo that verges or veers into thrash territory, yet still retains a strong foundation in the heavy metal pioneered by the NWOBHM bands of the early 80s. It’s metal that is rough around the edges, but packs a potent punch and carries a good dose of sing alongs that get the blood flowing.
Northern Spain is home to a wide variety of legends and folklore tales. One of them is “La Santa Compaña”, a myth that revolves around a procession. The procession is leaded at midnight by a living person carrying a cross and holy water. This is not the bizarre part. The person is then followed by a flock of grieving souls in white robes with candles. While very few people are capable of seeing the dead, they leave behind the scent of wax in the air. Those who claim to have seen or felt their presence say they hear prayers or funerary songs. While no one knows precisely the meaning of their march, many suspect it is a way of announcing an impending death – another soul to join the ghastly congregation.