Kratherion – Mantra Lucifer Flagelantes

Seems we’re on something of a black metal trend here as of late, so why not go further with it?  One of the things we discussed in our last review was the issue of differentiating between classic black metal and the modern post variety.  Yesterday it was the latter, today we step back to the former.  The major issue of discussion was what it takes in either form of black metal to succeed.  For classic, there’s really only one thing, doing the old style well and sometimes partially fresh.  Without this, you’ll merely sink into the catacombs of tape trading, only considered legitimate because you’re so very rare with that “recorded in a forgotten basement in Pennsylvania” aesthetic.  It’s more of an excuse to exist in the genre, a long-standing exercise in breathing life into a corpse that even an electrical storm couldn’t rustle.  Is the cover Xeroxed over and over until you can’t tell corpse paint from gauntlets?  Then listen with caution.  For those of us tired of such things, but who still love the classic now and then, we need to hear it right, and we need it now.


Which brings us to Kratherion, a mystery of a band if there ever was one because they refuse to give themselves much internet presence outside of releases.  Their Facebook page, for example, if it is even run by them, is merely a logo and nothing more.  Coming from Chile, a country that’s actually quite ubiquitous in terms of how much black metal one can find there, these guys represent the harsher, depraved type, which is immediately evident looking at the cover of Mantra Lucifer Flagelantes.  Blasphemy and chaos reign supreme in this classic, black and white realm, but whether or not Kratherion is entirely successful is another matter, because there are certain things one expects out of something like this.


Without a doubt the general approach is corruption, which you better believe is here.  Riffs lap at your dripping, gangrenous and sinful flesh like maggots in an orgy, drums pounding nails into your festering coffin until it crumbles and sinks into the mud of your sepulcher, and the vocals run through a variety of piercing shrieks and imposing roars to the extent that your mind will scarcely have more than a moment to comprehend the amount of musical lust that’s just violated it.  The spectacular thing is how heavily Kratherion relies on blasphemy without verging on the superfluous.  Chaos is scarcely the word, and we could pull out more disgusting terms but the music does enough of that itself.  The main fault here, interestingly, only becomes obvious after multiple listens.  When the music first assaults your morals, it’s entirely gratifying, something like the initial thrill of an affair baptized in violent sex and blood.  But then, after that glorious tryst, it eventually reveals itself for what it is the next time around, just another romp.  The vocals are the strongest aspect, interestingly, sometimes, in fact, they’re so commanding you ignore the rest of the music, which brings us to the main issue.  Mantra Lucifer Flagelantes is so entirely chaotic you’ll likely miss how weakly organized it is at first, but with further listens it becomes evident Kratherion isn’t really providing anything old, no, it’s that they have a ton of potential that hasn’t been effectively utilized.  This album’s a monolith of bones and putrefying limbs we all revel in tasting, but arranged in such a way that a single tap collapses the entirety and it’s revealed for what it is, a general mess of assault.  It’s almost as though it was written in a frenzy in a single night of drinking and the burning of things, and its own corruption leads to partial collapse once the listener grasps the core issue, which is that it simply throws all care into the wind without really connecting ideas fully.  Something like the art on the cover; it rots, it has horrid, sweaty, decaying and awfully smelling sex, but it pays too much attention to the parts that don’t matter to the core of the idea and in the end it’s anticlimactic.


Kratherion Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Kratherion: Mantra Lucifer Falgelantes
Exhumed Grave Productions, Old Temple Productions
3.8 / 5