Scottish metal titans, Achren have released their new E.P The White Death. Now, I know what you’re thinking – ‘that’s what we should call Christopher Walken from now on’. Well, while that is fitting it’s not what The White Death is about. As a matter of fact, the idea behind this three track E.P is much bolder and more intellectual than that. The inspiration behind The White Death is Simo Hayha, a Finnish sniper who has the highest recorded number of sniper kills in any major war. There you go now – learn something new every day. It’s definitely one of the more intriguing themes and certainly the most original. The White Death is an exhibition of great style and capability. It is captivating from beginning to end and well worth investing in.
The first track, Archangel is a sweetly anarchic introduction the The White Death. The track immediately establishes itself as intricate with a changeable style. With the Qball from CoExist/Bacchus Barachas featuring on this E.P, the drumming is pretty attention grabbing. The tone of the track has an unusually uplifting darkness. This paradox in sound is something that is not easily achieved, and is one of the more attractive features of the track. It’s a very detailed piece of music and all elements have their moment to stand out. The bass adds to the aural joy of the track with a curiously robotic sound. Archangel has that familiar scuttling feature of drums and guitar that often rear up on the blacker side of metal, and manages to layer the track with even more style. Riffs are clear-cut and pronounced as well as memorable. The vocals nourish the dark side of the track – growls drown out the more upbeat side of things and create that perfect juxtaposition of the upbeat and morose. Check out the solo on this one, it’s a triumphant component tying the whole song together perfectly.
The Eschatologist is where the stylistic evolution of this E.P is conveyed. There’s continuity of theme on The White Death, that’s for sure but thankfully its lacks monotony. The motif is carried throughout, maintaining continuity but there is enough going on to stop any interest waning. The chorus demonstrates the extended feature of theme – violent lyrics inspire some violent imagery of death and war. There’s a solemnity to The Eschatologist that is difficult to articulate. There’s strong musical technique throughout this track. Rolling drums introduce the listener to the saga-like qualities of The Eschatologist, reinforcing the eerie guitar and haunting vocals. The vocals are what create the morbidity with the lyrics delivered unflinchingly and aggressively. While they may not be completely pushing the envelope with this E.P they are simultaneously casting aside any generic conventions, keeping us interested.
Suomen Susi is the final track on The White Death. It has that kind of epic, anticipatory quality which I imagine would be really well received when played live. Each track is a separate entity, Achren have put thought into this E.P. it’s well structured and varied with and intellectual theme that is difficult to say of many death metal bands these days. Suomen Susi illustrates the stylistic depth that Achren have. It’s a more buoyant track, working well and standing up against the other two. It’s a good end to The White Death and it ties it all together nicely. Highly recommend checking these guys out.
2. The Eschatologist
3. Suomen Susi (The Finnish Wolf)
‘The White Death’ is released on the 7th April 2014 as a limited, numbered run of 250 digipack CDs and is available to pre-order in their webstore click here