Acheron - _Rebirth: Metamorphosing Into Godhood_
(Black Lotus Records, 2003)
by: T. DePalma (6.5 out of 10)
Acheron returns with their sixth full-length record, topping a career spanning over a decade. With six tracks (sans intros) that are not likely to usher in new converts, the band nevertheless delivers an effectively blunt sermon of what else: vampires, misogyny and devil worship. My version also contains a slipcase cover with more tasteful artwork than the cartoonish ritual splattered on the album's booklet; a sort of ode to the classic film "Rosemary's Baby", this painting is used for the inner sleeve as well, but I guess the band just couldn't resist a self portrait of themselves with a cherubic Anti-Christ halfway spat out the snatch of some big-boobed blonde caricature metal babe. But I digress...

Featuring a far less symphonic sound than 1999's _Those Who Have Risen_ (and no Peter Gilmore, which also means no more of the cheesy intros that are, depending on your tastes, one of the band's more charming qualities.) _Rebirth_ is the biggest sounding album the band has ever put out. There is no hollow bridging off verses by way of the pseudo gothic keyboards tending to wash out most of what is heavy; instead the album begins with a Morbid Angel style intro of distortion and overlaid vocal tracks that leads into the rolling barrage of "Church of One".

Being stripped down to a three piece is immediately beneficial as the band's old-school, somewhat laic riffs are performed with much fiercer calculation juxtaposed against guitarist Michael Estes' liquid sweeps (for more contrast see Acheron's _Xomaly_ MCD featuring several songs from this album recorded with keys). The opener and proceeding track "Xomaly" are some of the most monstrously epic and well produced songs the band has ever conjured (witness the ugly and victorious simplicity of "Church's" post solo verse four minutes in), and speaking of the latter track, Kyle Severn has never sounded more like Bill Ward in his life. Other tracks like "The Kindred", "Bow Before Me" and "Betrayed (A Broken Pact)" showcase more doom and groove, tending to drag at around 7-8 minutes a piece, but are quality enough to keep this album from trailing off completely like the hilariously bad and robotic monologue Vincent Crowley delivers on "A Long Time Ago" or the closing waste of "The 9th Gate" -- a grating nine minute exhibition of what sounds like a singing wine glass?

Though warning signs of the end have appeared with the recent release of both a "Best of" and tribute album, _Rebirth_ is a large improvement over the band's previous output and their strongest since ninety-four's _Lex Talionis_. There is nothing groundbreaking here, but the band has certainly proven to have outlasted their Floridian contemporaries who now rely on either the sheer worthlessness or fame begotten from previous albums and large press campaigns to prop up their latest mediocre works.

"...If I am wrong I will surely be damned" - Acheron, "Church of One"


(article published 19/11/2004)

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