Label: Purity Through Fire
Year of release: 2023
Vinyl colour: Black
Info/Extras: Formed in 2020, it was not until early 2022 that ATRONOS released their first demo, Fehde. However, mainman Henker is a prolific underground veteran whose current bands include AD MORTEM, Drudensang, and Blodskut, so it should come as no surprise that ATRONOS arrived as an already-serious proposition. More specifically, ATRONOS is a continuation of Henker's vision after the end of Temple of Oblivion; many of the ideas he had for that band are now becoming a reality under the ATRONOS banner. Undeniably Teutonic in their stoic march and folkish fury, the Fehde demo was absolutely addicting in its catchiness, so it was no surprise that PURITY THROUGH FIRE reissued those demo tracks as a split with fellow Teutonic titans EISENKULT and made a blood pact with the band for their debut album.
Striking while the iron's red-hot, ATRONOS unsheathe their debut album, Fehde. Indeed bearing the same title as their first demo, the debut album Fehde reprises that demo's four tracks but in superior versions, sharper and more stealthy. In fact, to qualify the album as sharp and stealthy succinctly summarizes ATRONOS' secret of steel: raucous and rabble-rousing, for sure, their black metal nevertheless bleeds a noble heroism and marching glory that put Fehde in more serious territory than other punkish black metal. Touches of melancholy folk color their black-magick riffing, lending tragedy as much as triumph to that arsenal, and the ripp(l)ingly clear production only makes that attack that much more energizing and effervescent. Leading the charge is the addition of erstwhile MAVORIM / EISENKULT vocalist Baptist, whose commanding annunciation sounds like the herald of ancient war. But above all, it's the earworming songwriting that shows ATRONOS as true masters, even at this early juncture; you'd be hard-pressed to find a more powerful and professional iteration of modern roots-oriented German black metal than this.
Eight swords-aloft anthems, 37 mesmerizing minutes: ATRONOS have come to conquer with the debut album Fehde!