Kawir - Exilasmos
Iron Bonehead Productions
Epic & Violent Black Metal
6 songs (41'05")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Alex

Just last year I finally got a chance to delve into Kawir, an influential Greek juggernaut which remained on hiatus for a while, and this year the band released another album in a quick back to back.

Expecting to hear another sweeping epic record, like Father Sun Mother Moon before it, I got somewhat jolted at first by how the Exilasmos opener Lykaon presented itself. Opening with a sound of a howling wolf (fittingly, since Lykaon was a Greek king who killed his own son and served his flesh to Zeus, trying to test his omniscience, for which deed he was transformed into a wolf), the track is more occult than epic black metal. Angry, heavy, resinous, it is constantly building tempo up, adding layers upon layers until bursting out with a breathtaking Greek melody. (Staying with a mythological story, this is perhaps Lykaon’s son’s resurrection by Zeus himself).

I have to admit that after hearing Lykaon I stepped away from Exilasmos for a few days. The next time around, almost by a lucky accident, I paid attention to Exilasmos tracks names, and the picture suddenly came into focus. Kawir are obviously continuing with the subjects intrinsically Greek, but all songs on Exilasmos are dedicated not only to heroes of Greek mythology in general, but to the most tragic and violent ones at the same time. There is Tantalus, whose eternal hunger and thirst are nothing compared to Oedipus. The latter accidentally kills his father, marries his mother, thereby bringing plague upon his home city. Oedipus’ mother eventually hangs herself, with Oedipus, unable to bear witness to all of this, blinding himself in the end. And then there are representatives of the doomed house of Atreus. Agamemnon, who sacrificed his own daughter to the gods in order to win the Trojan War, and was murdered by his wife and her lover upon his return. The pair, in turn, were killed by Agamemnon’s son Orestes, thus making him commit matricide. Yes, tragic and violent … and that is how I learned to appreciate Exilasmos in the end.

Just like Lykaon, Tantalus is also openly discordant, exploding with additional cymbal percussion and cutting guitar sound. Thyestia Deipna manages to stay soft for about a whole of three opening notes, plunging into the angry whirlwind after that. Yet, Kawir would not be Kawir if they did not deliver sweeping epics. The tragic melody of Oedipus is as epic as it gets, weaving in additional leads, swaying to rhythms. Whipping rising voice applies almost constant pressure, probably telling the saddest story I can’t obviously make out. Even more of a rolling epic, Agamemnon brings in cleaner chanting choirs, and I am not surprised anymore the track also has violent outburst given the subject matter. Orestes makes up for the violence, closing the album by settling into seemingly endless melodic rolls.

If Father Sun Mother Moon was grandiose, perhaps somewhat nature inspired, and monumental, I cannot come up with a better description for Exilasmos than what came with the album’s promo sheet. Consider the album to be an angry punchier cousin to Father Sun Mother Moon, of the same epic family, but with a ferocious bent, and you will get the picture.

Killing Songs :
Oedipus, Agamemnon, Orestes
Alex quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Kawir that we have reviewed:
Kawir - Adrasteia reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Kawir - Father Sun Mother Moon reviewed by Alex and quoted 83 / 100
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