Produced by Adam Ashbridge and Grant Crossan. Released on Dwarrowdelf Records on Thursday 12 January 2023.
For fans of Arch Enemy, Lamb of God, Fear Factory
Acherontia Styx is a four-piece melodic death metal band from Tyne and Weir in the north east of England that blends mid-90s black, death and grove metal with classic heavy metal and other influences. Post Death (2023) is the band’s second EP and third major release, preceded by well-received full-length album Shadow & Flame (2020) and debut EP Your Possible Pasts (2019).
So, the pandemic was rubbish and they wrote another bunch of songs. Or, as the press release put it:
Wrought from driving emotions of the pandemic, where the lockdowns focused emotions and self analysis into a shard of obsidian that cut into the very core. Acherontia Styx has taken flight once again to reign as Emperor of Nightmares over the crumbling ruins of civilisation.Press release
Post Death draws Acherontia Styx further from traditional death and black metal arrangements towards groove-based shred and psychedelic synth patterns, with a common focus on emotional release and dramatic structures. And it works.
“Cloud of war” (track 1) fades in with an energetic riff that suddenly bursts into life with a roar and settles into a melodic groove that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Lamb of God record. A great start!
“Shame” (track 2) picks up where “Cloud of war” left off with a galloping ascending and descending riff that lurches and rattles through verse and chorus, guitar embellishments and a glorious, soaring outro solo.
“Shards of sanity” (track 3) brings the pace right down with a quiet, bubbling, atmospheric intro that settles into a bouncing groove with swelling synth phrases that transforms the song. It has an almost industrial feel in places with shades of Fear Factory. This is by far my favourite track on the EP.
“Goddess of sin” (track 4) returns us to a more standard death metal groove that nods and chugs its way for the full five minutes and seventeen seconds.
I’m glad that I always listen to a release at least three times. This EP has really grown on me during the past week. While it could easily have been just another death metal release or Lamb of God-wannabe band, Acherontia Styx inject more than a fair dose of their own personality and influences into the music. The EP builds to a dramatic climax on “Shards of sanity”, which is a little ironic given how subtle that track is compared with the in-your-face metal of the surrounding numbers. I am impressed, I want to hear more, especially if the band explores their more experimental and synth metal leanings.
Review score: 85%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Acherontia Styx’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Acherontia Styx. 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 Zach from MDPR, and to Acherontia Styx for continuing to create fresh, exciting new metal.