Apr 132023

(Andy Synn celebrates the latest prolific produce of Ὁπλίτης)

There’s a famous saying… “god doesn’t close a door without opening a window.” Perhaps you’ve heard it?

Now, I’m not a religious man – and, even if I were, that’s patently false – but I can still appreciate the poetry behind the sentiment, the idea that a loss can also be an opportunity for gain, for change, etc.

Case in point, as bereft as I was by the end of Serpent Column in 2021, the unexpected appearance of Ὁπλίτης with their debut EP, Ἡ εἰκών, later that year definitely helped ease the pain a little, and the release of the project’s first full-length album earlier this year more than cemented them as worthy successors in their own right (in fact, as of writing, Ψ​ε​υ​δ​ο​μ​έ​ν​η is firmly ensconced on my “Best of the Year” shortlist).

And now, in another move which recalls their equally prolific predecessor(s), Ὁπλίτης are back with their second album in just over three months, which once again affirms their status as a band we should all be watching, and listening to, very closely.

One thing that you’ll likely realise quickly after listening to Τ​ρ​ω​θ​η​σ​ο​μ​έ​ν​η is that these ten tracks offer more than just a carbon-copy of the band’s previous album.

By cutting back on the more overtly discordant approach which defined their first full-length (and drew such clear comparisons with Serpent Column), Τ​ρ​ω​θ​η​σ​ο​μ​έ​ν​η makes space for an even more punishing pattern of frantic technicality and barely-controlled chaos which at times errs more towards the more abrasive end of the Tech Death spectrum (“”Ψευδόμαντις” and “Ὁ τῶν δακρύων ἄγγελος”) or the more chaotic side of the Blackened Hardcore scene (“Ψευδομάρτυς”, “Μάντις”).

But while this, of course, has the effect of estranging the band even more from “true” Black Metal, there’s no question that it still plays a major role in their creative process, as evidenced by the chilling, almost Icelandic sense of eerily melodic dissonance which infects “Ὁ τῶν δακρύων ψεῦδος” or the bleak, blistering fury which propels “Θελκτήριον”, even as they drift further and further towards the fringes of the genre.

That’s not such a bad place to be though. After all, it’s out on the extreme edges where the most extreme work is often done, with the likes of Plebeian GrandstandNoise Trail Immersion, and Fawn Limbs (all bands whom Ὁπλίτης should be proud to call their peers) putting out some of their best work while straddling the border(s) between different, often discordant, styles (and I haven’t even gotten around to mentioning how effective the group’s subtle ambient embellishments are at adding an unsettling atmospheric aura).

Let me put it this way – I’m already having trouble deciding which of the band’s two albums, Ψ​ε​υ​δ​ο​μ​έ​ν​η or Τ​ρ​ω​θ​η​σ​ο​μ​έ​ν​η, I prefer, and I imagine that decision is only going to get more difficult to make the closer we get to the end of the year… and that’s if Ὁπλίτης don’t put out anything else to make the choice even harder!

  2 Responses to “ὉΠΛΊΤΗΣ – ΤΡΩΘΗΣΟΜΈΝΗ”

  1. This absolutely rips

  2. bought the entire catalog this week, havent stopped listening. fantastic.

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