“ Promethean Black Flame is not a conventional black metal album. Carried by the individual songs, there is a context to the album that is heavily entrenched in the design of the music itself.”
Promethean Black Flame
Fire of the Titans
Dynasty of Typhon
Blood of Hydra
Spiritforms of the Psychomancer (Necromantia cover)
Chaosbaphomet formed in 2001 and struck in 2004 with the Temple of the Serpent Baphomet demo. Hailing from Greece, the band sustained themselves on smaller releases that included splits with Crucifixion Wounds in 2007 and appearing as part of a larger group that included Embrace of Thorns, Wargoat, and Bethor for a split in 2011. A 7” EP, The Black Communion, came out in 2012. 2016 saw the first full-length album for Chaosbaphomet, Promethean Black Flame, released.
Promethean Black Flame is not a conventional black metal album. Carried by the individual songs, there is a context to the album that is heavily entrenched in the design of the music itself. The name of the album, Promethean Black Flame, is a clear indication of what the context is. The songs titles echo the idea and the lyrics delve into it even further. This is a full-length that is a pure product of the band’s native soil and the cultural history of their lands. Trying to consume the album out of context is not beneficial.
The concept outlined in the previous paragraph will most likely split listening demographics. Listeners wanting a more ‘traditional’-style black metal album are simply not going to find it here. There is no criticism attached to this, at all. This is not a ‘traditional’ black metal album. It shares more in common with current-era acts such as Deathspell Omega, Ofermod, Acherontas, and Shaarimoth based not entirely on music, but the use of religious/cultural concepts in the actual composition of the songs themselves.
Opening Promethean Black Flame is “Chaosgenesis”, a lengthy narrative-style piece comprised of ritualistic spoken-word passages, progressive and textural acoustic guitar, and various unconventional percussion.
“Fire of the Titans” begins with a rhythmic palm-muted riff backed by a sustained chord, driven by a mechanical feeling blastbeat. The unchanging nature of this main phrase causes it to become more akin to a strange sonic pulse; like reducing the human language into a basic series of sounds to communicate a primitive message to something outside of human experience. There are several phrase changes where the riffs become more conventional, utilizing the common tremolo-picked single-note mechanic to introduce melody within the otherwise totemic musical structure.
“Fire of the Titans” references both Tartarus and Hyperion and “Dynasty of Typhon” continues building upon this lyrical concept. A segment of lyrics from “Dynasty of Typhon” references the number 56; possibly referring to the 56-sided polygon attributed to the aspect of Typhon. Hyperion’s line and alliance of Titans appear gradually throughout Promethean Black Flame. Hyperion, Kronos, Astraios…this is why context is everything for an album like this.
“Dynasty of Typhon” opens with composition similar to “Fire of the Titans”, but moves into a mid-tempo thrash breakdown leading into a slower, more melodic segment. The ritualistic feel still maintains itself throughout the song, much like “Fire of the Titans”. “To Eos” begins with an extended interlude of clean guitars before forming into a foreboding, slower doom-death style storm. The song continues to evolve, picking up pace by changing styles and heading into a more thrash-oriented direction before eventually reaching resolution through pure, forward-driving brutality.
“Blood of Hydra” and “Nightside Realm” eventually lead the album to its initial conclusion, working as summaries of the mechanics exercised on the previous songs. This also sees the lyrical narrative end with victory for the Titans and the triumph of the Nightside Realm over the slain Heavens.
The final track on Promethean Black Flame is a cover of Greek-cult Necromantia’s “Spiritforms of the Psychomancer”.
The production on Promethean Black Flame is clean and well-balanced. The percussion lends to creating a verse dense and punchy low-range dynamic while the guitars and vocals are separated well enough to saturate the mid-range frequencies. Like all heavy metal, the work is cheapened if you run it through bullshit cellphone or laptop speakers.
Promethean Black Flame is not a traditional black metal album. When viewed in context to its content, Promethean Black Flame is more of a story. It maintains a composition that caters to a very specific narrative. It is not a simple ‘thrown-on’ album one would listen to while driving their minivan to their office job. The writing and the execution of tehe songs is a nice change to the usual traditional formula and the production works to elevate the ritualistic sensation.
Chaosbaphomet’s Promethean Black Flame was initially released in March of 2016 on CD by Deathrune Records. In December of 2016, the album was issued on 12” vinyl as part of a limited 500-copy run.