In current metal scene, House of Atreus are among the very few bands that have a musical direction that can be called of theirs and theirs alone. Just like Austria’s Summoning, their art is a combination of particles that already exist, but the way the puzzle is put together creates something that is different to any other band in the globe at the moment.
Risen from the ashes of (hehehe), Ashened, House of Atreus have been going since 2011 and during the time this Minneapolis-based order of fine and mythology-devoted gentlemen have crafted their sound to very interesting directions indeed. There are the obvious influences of Greek masters Rotting Christ and Varathron here, met up with Melodic Death Metal of times when the term did not mean a watered down, screamy radio bullshit and mainstream audience. “From the Madness of Ixion” seems to deliver in the lost art of albums like “The Tale of Black” by Auberon, “Lunar Strain” by In Flames, “Skydancer” from Dark Tranquillity and “Unorthodox” by Edge of Sanity. Yet these aspects are bound together by an odd element that really sets House of Atreus apart from anybody else – The galloping riffs of heavy metal pirates Running Wild. They jump up and about here and there and bring a unique flavour to the whole creation making House of Atreus the band that it is now. These branded and exiled guitar patterns bring the hummable, uplifting quality to the mix and even if the music of House of Atreus impresses (and maybe raises the eyebrows as well) with the unexpected combinations, it all eventually makes a lot of sense. This is not a cheap mix of everybody’s favourite bands, but underground Metal music. Crafted with passion, consideration, focus and determination.
Out of the before mentioned, it is the focus that seems to have improved the most since the debut album “The Spear and the Ichor that Follows” (2015). “From the Madness of Ixion” comes across as a carefully planned art piece. Each of the parts in it is crucial. Every riff on the album is carefully placed into position, each lead seems to flow out in exactly the right time and exactly the right way. And unlike the Melodic “Death” Metal of today, “From the Madness of Ixion” does not go after hit songs or radio play. This is an album that needs time and spins to open up. Numerous melodic passages, driving drum beats and well articulated growls will all need time to settle into your brain before this cooking of highly talented craftsmen will fully reveal its true self to the listener.
Oh, and we spoke of the mythological content in the beginning, did we? House of Atreus seem to harbour a great love towards Greek tragedies and stories of gods, mortals and magic. They choose to work around the subject in a manner that speaks of a definite and in depth erudition. Just like Amon Amarth who know their Nordic mythologies deeper than your Odin-loving weekend warrior ever will, or like Moonsorrow who dive beyond the folklore and dig up the philosophical nature of it, House of Atreus seem to possess the same kind of deeper understanding of their subject of choice. Avoiding the clichés and stereotypes one would first come to think of. Let’s take ‘Ixion‘ from the album’s title as an example. According to a myth he was a mortal king who was raised from his mortal life amongst the gods, but also the first kin-slayer of Greek mythology, a madman who was denied of his catharsis, unreliable towards gods who felt pity for him, a corrupt cloud-fucker and the father of centaurs. Damn. Man of many levels, so to speak. But maybe because of this, his story sets a perfect tone for the House of Atreus‘ latest, as it is too, a bit complicated, extremely interesting, and definitely something other than ordinary.
Get onto this one right here.