Mixed and mastered by Damian Herring at Subterranean Watchtower Studios. Cover by Adrian Baxter. Released on Tuesday 21 June 2022.
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Having first emerged in 2017 with their Beneath the Pharaonic Necropolis (2017) single/demo, Spears of the Aten is the debut EP from London death metal outfit Tyrannos. The demo’s title track has now been joined by what has been described as “three incredible new monuments to the power of extreme music and the outer reaches of the imagination”.
Sounds promising, not least when you consider that they have Morbid Angel drummer Scott Fuller among their ranks for this release.
I had to pause “Beneath the pharaonic necropolis” (track 1) only a few seconds in to replay it a couple of times before I could put my finger on what it reminded me of. The opening notes and guitar squeals from Paradise Lost’s epic Gothic (1991). There is a real old-school extreme metal vibe coming from this song: think Hellhammer and early Celtic Frost, as well as (obviously) Morbid Angel and Nile who share the whole ancient Egypt theme (Aten was the disc of the sun and originally an aspect of Ra, the sun god).
“Cycle of idols” (track 2) opens with a high guitar riff that could easily have come from any Lamb of God LP. It shortly morphs into a Morbid Angel-style deluge of power, blast beats and whining guitars. As the song progresses and the layers are stripped from the brutality, it ends with a memorable melody that is repeated over and again, joined by another guitar melody that wraps itself around it and sung over by an acidic and mournful voice, half-sung, half-spoken.
“The tyrant’s bane” (track 3) opens with a cello, viola and finally violin that certainly channel the spirit of early Celtic Frost. It introduces a very welcome dynamic. When the band explodes into the aural landscape they are firing on all cylinders. The song then meanders through riff after twisted riff, taking the song in new directions, exploring subtle themes, before returning to the bludgeoning core of the song, Stobart’s vocals sounding more gruff and full than in previous songs.
“Sun disc cataclysm” (track 4) is the longest track on the EP. It opens with quite a laid-back, dissonant ‘noodle’ on guitars and bass. Then the death metal powerhouse kicks in—a chugging, relentless riff and grief-fueled throaty vocals. The band throws everything they have into this song—mournful, soaring guitar solos; experimental, progressive wanderings; bombastic explosions of power and anger. This is a band that more than deserves to go places.
The notes that accompanied my review copy said
From the ritualistic “The Tyrant’s Bane” to the many layered grandeur of “Sun Disc Cataclysm” Spears of The Aten is a magnificent creation of sonic sorcery and madness.
I can’t really disagree with that. The more I listened, the more I heard. This release has a lot to offer, layers, depth, influences, innovations. Good stuff! More please.
If you are into Celtic Frost, early Paradise Lost, Morbid Angel, Nile, Mithras, Pestilence, definitely give this a listen.
Review score: 85%
Imperative PR contacted me inviting me to preview Tyrannos forthcoming album, which I was delighted about. I have no connections to either Imperative PR or Tyrannos. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Imperative PR and Tyrannos for continuing to create fresh, exciting death metal.