Kawir Father Sun Mother Moon 2016I’m a sucker for bands who incorporate their country’s cultural sounds into their music. Whether it’s Orphaned Land‘s Israeli instrumentation, Chthonic‘s weeping erhu-induced Taiwanese melodies, or Nile‘s violent riffing recalling the war-torn sand dunes and ancient pyramids of their home country of South Carolina, peppering your music with your country’s native sounds can make things a bit more interesting. Like Rotting Christ before them, Greek black metallers Kawir flavor their evil brew with various wind instruments and unique percussion. After 23 years and various EPs and splits, their sixth full-length, Father Sun Mother Moon, is in my grubby hands. Is this a proper offering to the Gods?

With a singular bell, the strumming of a kanonaki (or lap harp), and a pipe flute, “To The Sovereign Sun” quietly makes its presence felt until about 1:11, when the opening melody is given the Zgard treatment, driving the song towards Mount Olympus. Guitarists Therthonax and Melanaegis build a heady atmosphere between that melody and the backing riffs. Returning vocalist Porphyrion remains as raspy as he did on 2008’s Ophiolatreia, sounding just as feverish and maniacal. New drummer Hyperion does a great job with his double-bass work and impressive fills, performing tasteful cymbal runs when the occasion calls for it. There’s a heaping amount of melody and memorable riffs on here. Even with its daunting length, the song goes by with little in ways of a hitch.

Which is what I wish I could say for the remainder of Father Sun Mother Moon. To put it bluntly, it’s a 64-minute album that feels much longer at times. Some songs, like “Dionysus,” have the main riff played for too long. Others, like the unbearably repetitive closer “The Descent of Persephone,” could have been omitted entirely without any detriment. Thankfully, much of the material here is good-to-great. Other parts of “Dionysus” feel empowering, thanks to Pandion’s flute mastery. “To Mother Moon” opens with a peaceful flute melody, harmonized by Melanaegis just a few seconds later to great effect, recalling Amorphis at their most Thousand Lakes-ish. Album highlight “Hail to the Three-Shaped Goddess” possesses the strongest melodies and riffs, with gang shouts, pummeling percussion work, and a beautiful acoustic ending. When they fire on all cylinders, and switch riffs off just at their expiration date, Kawir grabs the listener, hands them a shield, a sword, and a helmet, and valiantly leads them to battle.

Kawir Band 2016The production could use a little help. The drums are up front and loud, with the cymbals taking the biggest hit. The vocals and guitars seem to be battling for the #2 seed, and some of the string instruments sound absolutely painful, especially during “The Taurian Artemis.” Somehow, bassist Echetleos is miraculously audible, poking his head up here and there in the mix. The band really needs to vary their riffs and tempos up a bit as well. Just like Rotting Christ and Zgard, you can only stay in that mid-range tempo for so long before things become boring. Also, the reliance on Mediterranean instrumentation can only go so far, especially when all the guitars do is chug (looking at you, “Dionysus”).

Still, I find myself returning to Father Sun Mother Moon quite a bit. It’s long in the tooth, sure, but it’s an enjoyable romp when taken in small doses. If Therthonax can keep this line-up secure long enough, I see great things ahead for them. Until then, give “Hail to the Three-Shaped Goddess” yet another listen.

 


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Website: facebook.com/kawirblackmetal
Releases Worldwide: April 29th, 2016

  • JL

    Nice review. I’ll check this out despite that atrocious band photo. On another note, it’s interesting that my two favorites for 2016 thus far have yet to be reviewed here. They are: This Wretched End – In These Woods, From These Mountains (sort of a Borknagar/Enslaved hybrid), and the other, probably my favorite is the new Elffor – Malkhedant. They’re both fantastic but the Elffor record is just magical. Well worth your time.

    • pfk505

      Agreed on the Elffor.. I think its his best, and includes his best ever song as well (Solis In Antris). That said, maybe a touch too niche for AMG.

  • Mark Bonfiglio

    “Weeping erhu-induced “Thai”(?) melodies” of Chthonic. I thought Chthonic was from Taiwan, not Thailand.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Chthonic are Taiwanese indeed. But since there are no pyramids in South Carolina, that might be part of the joke too.

      • Grymm

        Woops! I meant to say “Taiwanese” in Chthonic’s case (fixed in the actual review, but not the header yet). The Nile joke was intentional.

        • The Ichthyologist

          The Nile joke was great! Made me chuckle! True story! I like to yell!

      • I very much enjoyed that joke, and were I Grymm I would have pretended that the Taiwan/Thailand mixup was on purpose and also a joke. We would have believed him.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Yeah… I would have believed it too. But good Grymm is an honest man and he is above taking credit for jokes he didn’t intend

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Is that the shadow of a guy on the belly of the dude with the man boobs?

    • The Ichthyologist

      Looks like a penis. The shadow of a penis. Penis.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        That picture keeps getting wronger the more I look at it…

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Is it just my imagination or are the adds a new feature? I don’t care if they are BTW

    • Kronos

      They are. And I don’t think we agreed to having them unless I wasn’t informed…

      • Grymm

        “Kronos was late to the discussion about incorporating ads on AMG. You won’t believe what happens at 2:38 of this video!”

        I have no idea either.

  • Wilhelm

    The production is not amazing but this sounds more Greek, more Black Metal, and more authentic than anything Rotting Christ has released in the last decade.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    In some parallel Universe there might be a Death Metal band from Egypt making a career singing about the Chauga Mound…

  • I didn’t have the chance to give this record a spin apart from the 2 promo songs released, so i don’t have an opinion on this record.Can everyone tell me if this is better than their previous full length, Isotheos? (which i think is a masterpiece and a perfect embodiement of folk and traditional greek instrumentation and music with pagan black metal)

  • pfk505

    No doubt this will be incredible, like all Kawir albums.

  • Blueberry Balls

    Those are some serious man breasts.