Yoth Iria
Under His Sway EP

I consider Kostas Vaxevanos, owner of Repulsive Echo Records, out of Greece, a friend.  He has been supportive of me and I of him.  I love his label and we’ve had a many discussions over the years.  When he makes music recommendations I listen.  He recently informed me about a band he was planning on releasing their debut ep and it was important because Yoth Iria is comprised of ex-members of Rotting Christ and current members from Necromantia and Lucifer’s Child.  He did not really know that I am a fan of older school black metal, but that recently I had been wading back into the black metal pool and that I would love to review it.  I think I really caught Kostas off guard when he found out I actually am a fan of black metal and so he took the risk of sending me the music files of this debut 3 song ep, titled Under His Sway.  We spoke back n forth about the various forms of black metal and since this band is out of Greece, was extra special for him.  Well I am happy to say this ep may just very well win ep of the year for me, when it’s all said and done later in the year.  Read below for what I think, toughguy!

Opening with the 6+ minute title track there is some ambience in the beginning, vocal chanting and shit in the background, before the Holy Shit moment spews forth with an amazing lead guitar riff.  Emotive, memorable and fast.  Over the massive double bass is quite impressive and the vocals of Magnus are more of a raspy snarl, with quite a bit of piss n vinegar to his tones.  Why are you so angry, Magnus?  I mean you live in a country where you have some of my favorite food, for  devil’s sake!  Anyway you won’t get those really grating higher pitch black metal vocals, this is pretty angry shit.  He’s got some nice screams too.  The main guitar riff is just extraordinary and when going into the faster melodic black metal riffing over the double bass I just sit the fuck back and enjoy.  Beautiful musical soundscapes.  The song gets into  some pianos thrown the fuck around moments, atmospheric guitar before the awesome chorus and guitar riff comes in and then a kind of brief death metal grunt. Another reason why I really love this song is the inclusion on some classic metal moments.  Whether it’s the guitar soloing or galloping Manilla Road like pace at certain moments, it all comes together in creating, as I speak, yeah, that’s right you heard it here first-my favorite song for 2020.  Brilliant!

“Sid-Ed-Djinn” is up next with some nice devilish choral aria chants in the background as the massive riff and stomping drum beat create sinkholes. The female vocals are certainly a nice touch and really add to the ambience of the song.  These moments lead into a nice bass guitar solo and then BOOM!, right into the faster part with a deathly scream, before the song settles into a mid-paced crawl with some great drums. I love the drum rolls and then I caught a little Maiden guitar melody quickly thrown in.  The 3.58 part features more of the female vocalist kind of adding some ethereal humming and almost as if she’s crying or writhing in ecstasy.  Either way it’s powerful and emotional.  This is another awesome song as the song ends with the female’s vocals taking you away to either the pits of hell or her bedroom.  It’s befitting to end the ep with the Rotting Christ cover-“Visions of the Dead Lover”.  The song is excellent  and guitar soloing –  impressive.  This is the perfect Rotting Christ cover for Yoth Iria to do.  The overall tone and emotive nature they incorporate goes with the rest of the original songs.

But then……..it’s over.  Too short.  The quality is certainly there, but this is like a real great cliffhanger in one of the streaming shows you probably watch all damn day, rather than getting your ass to work.  I want a full length from Yoth Iria and I want it now.  Damn I’m sounding like that bratty girl in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Seriously I feel Under His Sway is that excellent and also special.  Creating emotive, heavy and angry music is not that hard, in certain circumstances, but make it memorable and maybe this is why me, of all fucking people, who is rooted in heavy metal and death metal, is dipping back into the black metal pool.

Too many good bands out there-I have given up now and Yoth Iria, if they remain intact, could quite possibly carve out a nice little niche in the black metal world, for themselves.  They have the musical where with all, cause they know how to write great songs and pack them in with so many memorable, brutal, dark, atmospheric and beautiful moments that I am rooting for them.  The production is excellent and I appreciate the classic metal undertones, as well as their take on black metal.  Under His Sway is outstanding.  Thank you Kostas and thank you Yoth Iria for writing an ep that I can’t stop listening to.  Damn you guys!


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
March 20th, 2020


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