The word ”bythos,” according to the Greek mythology, refers to the personification of the depths of the sea. Likewise, this band seems to have the ultimate goal to take the listeners down to the utterly dark and unknown depths of their being, through an elegant yet ruthless combination of music and words.
The band members are well known in the Finnish black metal scene since all of them play in some of the most important local bands: M.S., the singer, also sings in BEHEXEN and used to sing in SARGEIST, while M.L. (guitar/bass/composer) and L.R. (drummer) both play in HORNA.
However, BYTHOS as a band does have its own identity – it wasn’t born and raised in the shadow of HORNA and BEHEXEN as a mere side project, but rather as a creature with its own purpose and personality.
”The Womb of Zero” is the band’s debut album, released on 24 April 2020 via the label TERRATUR POSSESSIONS.
The first song, ”Black Labyrinth,” immediately takes the listeners into the ritual thanks to its hypnotic riffs and ominous growls. The tempo is slower than expected and gives a doomy and solemn touch to the whole thing.
The following track, ”When Gold turns into Lead,” begins with a dramatic lead guitar that draws a solid pattern where the narrative power of the vocals and the versatility of the drums manage to build a complex and well balanced harmony.
“Sorath the Opposer” shows a more conventional black metal approach when it comes to the drums and the riffing. The guitars and the ceremonial singing style – especially the spoken-word part – closely recall DISSECTION, one of the most important bands in the Nordic blackened death metal scene. In this regard, I feel the need to point out how, even though the influence of the Swedish band is significant, BYTHOS manages to embrace their lesson, empowering that legacy with a new, personal twist that makes the whole piece of art particularly valuable.
One of the spearheads of this debut is ”Omega Dragon.” The majesty of the chorus creates a perfect combination with the multifaceted and rock-oriented drum stylings, proving that Finnish black metal can still evolve and develop new and colorful soundscapes.
”Call of the Burning Blood” is one of the most complex tunes in the album, where the guitar work, along with the drums, supports the furious vocals in the pattern, involving the listeners in a ritual due to the repetition of the title, as something they should surrender to.
”Hymn to Lucifer,” in accordance with its title, shows a specific structure in the lyrics made up of the repetition of the word ”kadosh,” which is Hebrew for ”holy,” in a crescendo where the peak is a four-sentence paragraph in Latin, in the style of a Gregorian chant. The music is not just a background but a massive structure empowered by the mystic words.
”Legacy of Naamah” and the following track, ”Destroyer of Illusions” sound like they are united by an acoustic interlude, which is, technically, the outro of ”Legacy of Naamah” but ends up with sounding also like an intro for the upcoming tune. Both share a strong presence of melodic elements, especially in the guitar work.
In conclusion, ”Luciferian Dawn” gives the listeners proof of the band’s skills and creativity, with a mid-tempo song full of good and effective riffs, perfectly combined with brilliant use of drums and a deeply solemn use of the vocals, where the ritual comes to its fulfillment.
BYTHOS, thanks to ”The Womb of Zero,” proves to live up to expectations or more. Easy win? Maybe, but such a good and inspired album should be considered what it is: a black jewel.
Written by Licia Mapelli
M.L.: guitars, bass
- Black Labyrinth
- When Gold turns into Lead
- Sorath the Opposer
- Omega Dragon
- Call of the Burning Blood
- Hymn to Lucifer
- Legacy of Naahmah
- Destroyer of Illusions
- Luciferian Dawn