Archegon, a Greek blackened hardcore band (or “blackcore” band for short) explode onto the scene with their newest EP Grief of the Void. This record blends melodic elements of Swedish death metal bands like In Flames and At The Gates, epic leads of neo-crust bands like Tragedy and Fall of Efrafa, and a black metal vocal style similar to former Kvelertak singer Erlend Hjelvik.
The EP opens with “Intro the Grief,” an instrumental track consisting of melodramatic piano and strings, foreshadowing the angry tears that appear when the distortion kicks in on “Genesis.” Vocalist Kyprianos Pap switches from barking aggressively in the verses to singing clean on the chorus but, instead of going for that high-pitched emo vocals that has completely turned me off metalcore without fail, Kyprianos sings in a lower register, more suitable for early goth music ( though he still has trouble hitting certain notes). The vocals are at their most powerful as gang vocals; I imagine the band as a horde of warriors chanting as they ride into battle. “Omega to Alpha” features a soothing female voice, aptly contrasted by Kyprianos’s harsh screams.
Songs like “Whispers in My Head” and “Out of Chronos” contain rhythmic segments that are structured like a modern hardcore breakdown with a metallic edge, a bit like Knocked Loose. Drummer Theodore Kounas comes down hard on the cymbals during those sections, then smoothly transitions into steady double-bass-drum pedaling on the subsequent melodic section. Guitarist Ioannis Sotirioy plays simple yet invigorating leads that go hand-in-hand with the lyrical themes. The music wraps you in a warm blanket of existential dread, yet inspires you to push forward through the bleakness. Lyrics describe the never-ending human struggle against the dark worlds that live outside your front door and inside your subconscious, and the ongoing quest to find meaning in pain.
Archegon have a sound that I’m very familiar with, yet it’s a sound I crave when I’m at the lowest of my lows. It’s a sound that gives me the strength to soldier on into the void.
Written by Chris Aitkens
*edited by Danielle Kenedy