Prometheus – Resonant Echoes From Cosmos Of Old Review

Metal and Lovecraft go together like butter and sugar. Given metal’s exercise-in-excess aesthetic and Lovecraft’s melodramatic vocabulary and vast range of deities and monsters, it’s a match made in heaven the inky depths of ancient blackness most foul. It’s a symbiotic relationship: chthonic flourishes give substance to metal’s darkness while metal’s abstruseness provides the soundtrack for forbidden knowledge. Like a delicious slice of cinnamon toast with perfectly proportioned cinnamon-sugar and butter, eldritch horror and aural darkness frolic hand-in-hand across the fields of carnage in the offerings of groups like Sulphur Aeon, Catacombs, and Infinite Spectrum, in spite of their different stylistic approaches to the Lovecraft. Do Lovecraft devotees Prometheus create the perfect slice of cinnamon toast, or is the project doomed by too much of a good thing?

Prometheus is a Greek trio, releasing two demos, an EP, and one full-length since 2007. Their style professes to carry “the heritage of Hellenic and Scandinavian black metal” while fusing it with esoteric death metal. And fuse do they. Ultimately, second full-length Resonant Echoes From Cosmos Of Old sports an extremely tasty sonic palette, its second-wave black metal atmosphere a la Rotting Christ or Marduk funneled through the cavernousness of death metal groups like Cruciamentum or Our Place of Worship is Silence, topped off by crystalline ambient synth textures of Kataxu or Evilfeast. The result is a surprisingly solid slab of Lovecraftian death/black menace, let down only by glaring consistency issues.

Featuring guttural roars, blastingly dense riffs, melodic tremolo, and OSDM opaqueness, “Gravitons Passing Through Yog-Sothoth,” “Azathoth,” and “Astrophobos”1 stand as the best examples of death/black fusions I’ve seen in a hot minute, flaunting Prometheus’ sheer intensity, haunting repetition, and cosmic atmosphere.2 The title track and closer “The Crimson Tower of the Headless God” are more exclusively blackened, relying on shrieks, blastbeats, and more technical riffery, allowing the chaotic and frantic atmosphere to reign, not unlike Death. Void. Terror. or Portal. Interlude “Ανεμοι των Αστρων”3 throws a bit of a welcome curveball, as it relies on surprisingly bright textures that nonetheless fit into the spacey atmosphere, its textures channeling Ildjarn’s ambient Hardangervidda by way of Evilfeast’s Wintermoon Enchantment. Each of Resonant Echoes’ track lengths feel furthermore appropriate, able to work in its effective uses of haunting repetition without feeling overdone, making the album’s forty-four minute runtime surprisingly feasible.

Prometheus’ full-length is a continuation of this year’s EP Azathoth, which contains the first three tracks. As such, while individual tracks are executed with professionalism, the issues plaguing Resonant Echoes From Cosmos Of Old are found in each song’s relation to another. While closer “The Crimson Tower of the Headless God” tries to tie all its loose ends into a stunning conclusion with a bow of flamenco plucking and strange synth melodies, the differences between the first three tracks’ death metal aesthetic versus the blackened menace of the last two (excluding the ambient interlude) are particularly jarring. The former relies on dense Entombed-esque death metal riffs, while the latter is dominated by semi-raw atmoblack tremolos reminiscent of Darkspace; even the vocal approach is different, as the first three rely on deep growls while the latter raspier shrieks. The synth overlays and blastbeats are the only elements that remain consistent across both halves. Both impressive and disappointing, it shows that Prometheus is more than capable of each style in stunning execution, but a transition needs to be established.

Don’t let inconsistency stop you from picking up Resonant Echoes From Cosmos Of Old. Prometheus offers its various death/black tracks with stunning balance of atmosphere, brutality, and crystalline melody, providing highlights for each track as well as maintaining an unwaveringly sinister hold on its chthonic atmosphere with just enough delicate melody to keep things interesting. Its various proportions of death and black are as unpredictable as Cthulhu himself, for better but often for worse, however it inscrutably adheres to the cosmic chaos of its theme. A nice blend of death metal heft, black metal sharpness, and an eerie melodic thread woven into the fabric of eldritch darkness, Prometheus offers a trembling gaze at the ancient stars with balance and awe. Resonant Echoes from Cosmos of Old’s cinnamon toast, perhaps heavy on the butter, is nonetheless worth a long and thoughtful crunch.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: I, Voidhanger Records
Website: Facebook
Releases Worldwide: October 23rd, 2020

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Lyrics provided by Lovecraft himself in his poem “Astrophobos.”
  2. The chanting of “Azathoth!” in the track of the same name is a nice ritualistic cherry atop an eldritch sundae.
  3. “Winds of the Stars,” according to Google Translate.
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