Bohemian Grove - _Age of Retrogression_
(Hyperblasted Recordings, 2008)
by: Andreas Marouchos (7.5 out of 10)
_Age of Retrogression_ struck me as something completely out of the blue, but ultimately it proved to be quite a powerful introduction to the band. First impression was the artwork, which was crafted by some Justin Bartlett. It incorporates a mostly monochromatic theme, going for a relatively simple, symbolic cover, bearing an ouroboros and an owl, and eerie, penciled artwork for the inner sleeves -- quite an intriguing break from the norm, I must say.

Quality atmospheres are presented on Bohemian Grove's debut, which are positively symptomatic of their wise conglomeration of different styles. Their percussive bedrock is solid and varied, providing for some moments of nifty rhythmical hooks. Quite indicative of their compositional acuity is the multidimensional approach with which they compose their songs, which are aptly structured and well executed. Given their particularly lengthy songs (with album closer "Drowning in the Roar of a Sinking World" ticking in at twelve minutes) this is definitely a plus.

Their production is full and expansive; not exactly crystal clear, but still quite far from tinny and skeletal per your usual raw black metal platter. As far as basic melodicism is concerned, despite their much esteemed milieu (i.e. Hellenic black metal), they opt to remain tethered to the Nordic archetype of high-tempo spurts and rippling dynamics (taking their cue from Gorgoroth in particular) with some subtle hints of early Moonspell thrown in the mix. Still, the album's musically conveyed pathos comes across as convincing on several occasions.

Overall, although not a demanding listen by any means, it's an attention-grabbing little entrant into the black metal scene that given its due interest can pack enough punch to strike a chord or two in any aficionado's mind.


(article published 19/7/2008)

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