#Artanor In Servitude of Darkness

3 min read

Band: Artanor
Title: In Servitude of Darkness
Label: Gutter Prince Cabal 
Release date:  22 July 2023
Country: Australia
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording 

Listening to tons of Metal can be a way of doing “auditory tourism” in some way: I can mentally travel to many places around the world through music. Let me tell you this is totally random: there’s awesome Metal in every country, in fact when I start listening to a promo lots of the times I don’t know where the band is from. Well, this time I “went” to Australia and found Artanor. Or maybe it found me, sometimes it happens… This band is the brainchild of Menelyagor, an Australian musician who does everything in this project. Yes, another one man Black Metal  band. And yes, I always wonder how some people can be so skilled in multiple fields: playing all instruments, writing lyrics, doing vocals, mixing…  Well, I guess some people are born with this gift. 

The first thing that caught my attention in this album was the particular structure of some songs. I’m not an expert in music, my knowledge of music theory is very small, but by listening to “I. Consumed by Time” for example it seems to have a special building, AND all the instruments form an acoustic net that wraps the listener in a cold, afflicted and desolated ambience. From my point of hearing. I really like the changes in tempo, when it’s fast it sounds obscure, and when it slows down a bit there’s a more intense feeling. I also love listening to the cymbals being smashed a lot, and guitars create something hypnotic here by playing repetitive melodies…  And this is just the beginning!

I didn’t mention the vocals, but as you’ll instantly notice, Menelyagor has a deep and very dark raspy voice, something sinister is emerging from his throat in every verse. The music is cold as ancient ice, the vocals are burning like fire… what a fantastic combination! And the resulting atmosphere takes me to other landscapes, and easily to another time too. The rhythms alternate from fast and continued blast beats to more calmed pace ones and it’s done naturally. 

Lyrically, each song depicts a tale of ancient mythology or a part of it, I’m not familiar with this. Or maybe all is just storytelling from a vast imaginative mind? Who knows… one thing is sure, these kinds of lyrics fit perfectly the music, the fantasy, the ancient tales about sacred lands, obscure creatures, magic, epic battles… Maybe the closing track, “IIIIII. Despondent Echoes of Misery”, the longest one, is the most poetic in terms of lyrics. Dark poetry indeed. The slower tempos give this song another dimension; it’s like a cold ode to pain, though with some hope at the end. The last verse says it all:

“There is no freedom. 
There is no choice. 
There is only false hope. 
Despondent echoes of misery. 
There will be solace in death”

The fantastic artwork was created by A. S.; it depicts a dreadful creature (oh, look at the gigantic skull with tentacles, fire in its dead eyes, suspended above the swamp) and two mysterious figures (who probably summoned it) covered by their cloaks. This image tells me about something terrifying that’s about to happen, it speaks loud, you can ask yourself some questions and try to find the answers. 

Some music can be highly emotional and touching, and I love when this happens.
This album is 9/10 for me. Sílvia



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