Behold the riffs that sailed a thousand ships. The sons of Hellen have come to lay claim to the glory of their birthright. This is Hellenic black metal of the highest order, and it’s totally free.
No Night to Sleep is a brand new split from two would-be heroes of mythic proportion. Newcomer to the scene Damon (Δάμων) of Aforism has set his sights on the throne of Greek black metal currently held by the likes of Rotting Christ and Varathron, and he’s brought along back-up in the form of his Myrmidon-esque cohort Ulversønn of Constrictor. Though technically a split between the two solo projects, No Night to Sleep is really an Achilles/Patroclus type partnership wherein the two mighty warriors have aided each other on each track to craft a truly formidable two-pronged assault. The end result is a set of four distinct tracks that all somehow bear the traits of both artists in their own way.
“Terror – The Catharsis” and “Lone Shadow (Crack of Skies)” are the two tracks contributed by Aforism, and these two exercises in Greek drama and tragedy are entirely performed by Δάμων aside from some drum arrangement assistance from Ulversønn. The opening track from the split immediately rips into a series of Rotting Christ-esque riffs that pierces your heart like Achilles’ spear before delving into a gut-wrenching melodic lead that truly sounds like Δάμων pouring out his soul into his craft. The song then morphs into an unwinding spiral of rhythmic shifts that sounds like a descent into Hades. This heroic journey into undeath then culminates in a cacophony of blasts and pure Hellenic riffs that perfectly lay the groundwork for the remainder of the journey ahead. “Lone Shadow” is no less majestic than the previous track, with melodic tremolo lines and tasteful, crestfallen riffs that rise and fall through reversals of major and minor keys that never relent, even as the pounding drums start to slowly unwind at the song’s emotional climax. It’s an exercise in high tension and theatricality, punctuated by moments of plaintive counterpoint, that perfectly captures the grandeur of this style.
Still, some may prefer the two Constrictor tracks here. Ulversønn has a lower, more subdued riff style that feels more brooding and calculating, as if “You Had No Night to Sleep” and “In the Twilight of Terror” are in truth a soundtrack to your final journey over the river Styx. Δάμων lends a throatier growl to Ulversønn’s two tracks, and the slightly lower register seems to suit his range a bit more and better captures that katabasis feel the EP is aiming to encapsulate. Intriguingly, these two Constrictor tracks are more straightforward, and subsequently more vitriolic, than the Aforism side of the split. The riffs remain razor-sharp throughout, never over-indulging the melodic side at the cost of battle-readiness. If you prefer your black metal as haughty and defiant as the Greeks holding the line at the Hot Gates, the Constrictor side of No Night to Sleep is for you.
Both tracks typically stay at higher speeds than recent works from Nocternity and Empire of the Moon; the melodies are tight, the riffs are epic, and the mood is always dire. Though some may see the electronic drums as a misstep, every classic Greek hero has a flaw that humanizes him and builds our compassion and esteem; if boasting a tumultuous and dynamic, though somewhat fabricated drum sound is Aforism/Constrictor’s only wrong, I’m more than ready to follow this split like Agamemnon into glorious battle.
You can learn more about Aforism on Facebook here. If you like what you here, Damon has another demo up for absolutely free as well. There’s no reason not to download it and support an ambitious young artist.
(Photo is Two Men Contemplating the Moon)