Folk influence works really well with black metal, but often times the Scandinavian and Northern European style can feel overplayed and tiresome. It’s nice to take a look at what other regions of the world have to offer, and Kawir‘s seventh studio album Exilasmos is here to remind us that the Greeks do it just as well as anyone else. Bringing memorable riffs, tight instrumentation, and an authentic look at tales from Greek mythology, these Hellenic black metallers have absolutely still got the touch.
One of the strongest parts about Exilasmos by far is the guitar work; the riffs aren’t overly complex or blazingly fast, but they’re catchy as Hades (haha) and repeated just enough to let them linger in your mind after the album is done. The songs are reasonably melodic in every aspect, from the riffs, to the solos, to the folk instrumentation heard on tracks like ‘Agamemnon.’ Yet Kawir still keeps it grounded, so to speak; nothing feels cheesy or flimsy, which is a common problem for music with melodic elements. Exilasmos is very easy on the ears, but not because it’s weak, rather because it’s smooth, expertly crafted, and flows together as one whole rather than layers of instrumentation. It’s not surprising after seven full length releases, but Kawir really knows how to piece an album together.
The Hellenic folk side of Kawir makes Exilasmos beautiful and concise while the black metal side brings in the depth, power, and darkness that are needed to make this album as strong as it is. The depth is especially well executed; The intricacy of the mix is so organic that it’s really up to the listener to choose how closely they want to listen. Exilasmos works just as well as background listening as it does as the center of attention. No matter how you enjoy it, Kawir’s latest output is impeccable and an excellent addition to their legacy.
Exilasmos will be available digitally and physically from Iron Bonehead on November 3rd.