Varathron – The Crimson Temple

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Imbibing mystic knowledge of the Greek myths, Hellenic occult black metal masters Varathron returns with themes of mystery and darkness. The seventh album “The Crimson Temple” released on December 1st, 2023, via Agonia Records, offers a detailed composition and is elaborated by their own craftsmanship. At the helm, for thirty-five years Stefan Necroabyssious (vocals), Achilleas C. (guitars, keyboards), Haris (drums), Sotiris (guitars) and, Stratos Kountouras (bass) achieve mastery of perfection in the Hellenic canon.

Conjuring bombastic ornamentation on such a grandiose scale, the seventh album exudes lush instrumentation from traditional Greek music, and the opening intro “Ascension” ascends straight into the unearthly cosmos of ancient monsters, ogres, and demigods. Given its orchestral composition that epitomizes the creativity of the melodic lead guitar, “Hegemony of Chaos” takes an epic approach in illustrating the breathtaking composition. As the blazing tremolos picked riffs enhance the quality and the surge of menacing growls of Stefan Necroabyssious adding layers to the guitars.

The songwriting is supremely professional and vibrantly exuberant with the atmosphere of ominous evil, and the blasting drums reignite a powerful flame that renders a thundering sound of the old-school Greek black metal. Varathron remarkably puts focus on balancing the dark effect of the atmosphere. The performance is marvelous, the use of epic tremolo-picked riffs is nothing short of amazing and goes together with the majestic gait of the percussion. A flitting tempo displaying the intricate work of the lead guitars and the blasting percussive section leaves you in awe of the cunning performance. The synth is applied in the choruses with the pounding bass guitar floating upon the sinister menacing growls as the thundering drums dominate the background.

The riffs constantly shift in thrashing tempos, capturing the dark mood that is entwined with hooks that showcase qualities of the lead guitars stemming from the roots of heavy metal in the song “Crypts in the Mist”. The melodies are marvelously composed and driven by organic percussion, while the bass lines are vibrant outlining the impressive talents of the band, the songwriting is very similar to the album “Patriarch of Evil”. Varathron managed to infuse its own unique flair, for instance, “Sinners of the Crimson Temple” features shimmering guitar melodies with a touch of elegance and a scintillating atmosphere and synth components strewn throughout the chorus.

When the lute strings are applied, they stimulate the ancient folk music however, the awe-inspiring hooks are beautifully crafted on “Immortalis Regnum Diaboli”. The macabre atmosphere intensifies with thrashing guitar riffs and up-tempo drums striking powerful bombastic choral adding a theatrical grandeur to the thrilling acoustic passages and tribal drums. Wicked Middle Eastern tunes sway like dancing serpents, and the sonic landscape draws unspeakable creatures of hell as the dark atmosphere gives this epic track an eerie aura of operatic grandeur that is both atmospheric and terrifying. “To the Gods of Yore” is apparently inspired by the European style of black metal, whereas the guitar pours forth ominous riffs. The track offers symphonic elements entangled with blazing rhythms and thrashing riffs and ethnic rhythms have their own distinctive sound, and they’re absolutely catchy.

Shrouds of the Miasmic Winds” and “Swamp King” strike with powerful tremolo riffs and heavy guitar chugging along with the blast beats. Despite the sonic layers of the guitars and the synth, the performance is tight and organic in building fast-paced tempos, whereas the drums are thunderous the guitars maintain aggression and simultaneously carry the majestic soundscape of the synth. The ebbing and the flow of the choir boast a powerful climax, Varathron’s seventh album pursues symphonic moments, catchy dark melodies packed with tons of folk qualities, and entrancing choir passages. You can hear some beautiful instruments like the lute to enhance the atmosphere.

In the final track “Constellation of the ArchonsVarathron presents one of its unforgettable performances, and begins with a swirl of guitar licks and savage vocals that are followed by a dark evil choir. The blistering riffs soaring over rhythmic drums enhance the epic components of the song while maintaining the theatrical settings of the acoustic interludes. The guitar technique is flawless, weaving scorching rhythm melodies with outstanding percussive beats weaving a majestic theme that transports you into eerie realms of archons and creating a sensible sonic landscape. The grand epic choir contrasts with the catchy melodic riffing led by sinister growls of Stefan Necroabyssious.


  • Music / Songwriting 10/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 10/10
  • Mix / Production 10/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 10/10
  • Originality 10/10

“The Crimson Temple” is a landmark in the modern era of Hellenic black metal, and deserves all the praise for its grand performance, this is by far my personal favorite black metal album of the year 2023.

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