ΩΝ – Ανέγνων, έγνων, κατέγνων
In order to describe their music, we could say that ΩΝ play a mix of black metal with hardcore/thrashcore/deathcore. They have a very personal and uncompromising approach in their sound and this is what makes them different. They show their respect for the mighty old Greek black metal scene, but they also add modern touches in their songs and some basic sounding, but very effective core riffs.
“Anegnon, Egnon, Kategnon” is a very ambitious work including a great number of collaborations with the elite of the Greek metal scene and artists like Sakis “Necromayhem” Tolis (Rotting Christ), George Triantafillakis (ex-Deviser), George Zacharopoulos aka Magus Wampyr Daoloth/Morbid/The Magus (Necromantia), Stefan “Necroabyssious” Karasavvas (Varathron), Petros “False Prophet” Christoforidis (Nordor), Christos Antoniou (Septicflesh), Efthimis Karadimas (Nightfall) and many more.
ΩΝ decided to write their lyrics in the Ancient Hellenic language. This makes their songs to sound more obscure, dark and exotic to the non-familiar with the Greek language. Of course, Kawir have used ancient Greek before, but ΩΝ give their own perspective for sure. Another interesting and rare fact of the album is that the guitars were written within 20 whole years covering the period of 1998-2018! The album was conceived in Komotini and Athens, recorded in Athens (2015-2018) and sent to the UK to receive a proper mix and master.
Apart from the typical rock instruments, ΩΝ like to use weird instrumentation in their songs; so you will get to listen to Thracian bagpipe/gaida on ‘Κυριαι Δοξαι, piano/keyboards and Hellenic islands Askaulos/Tsabouna on the same titled ‘Ανεγνων, Εγνων, Κατεγνων’, symphonic orchestral parts and keyboards/synths on ‘Αυτοματα’, Cretan laouto on ‘Εστιν Ουρανος Ου Μεγας’, Pontian lyra on ‘Αηρ Τε Και Αιθηρ’, harmonica, lauto and tzouras on ‘Αποσκοτησον Μου’. It is very interesting to search the history of these instruments.
The use of fretless bass from Chris “Nycriz” Zindros of the progressive metallers Aenaon makes also a great addition in certain parts of the album. ΩΝ’s riff work has old school Hellenic black metal feeling when the instruments hit the lower strings, the production is also very old school, but still some chord progressions are hardcore/deathcore.
On ‘Παντων Αρχη Ζευς’ Sakis Tolis shows for one more time how passionate he is with extreme metal. His trademark vocals advance the level of any song. ‘Κυριαι Δοξαι’ is a groovy track where hardcore/deathcore influences are more obvious, while at the same time the use of the Thracian bagpipe/gaida adds a weird twist and a dramatic Balcan color. At the groovy parts Soulskinner and Thou Art Lord came to mind. The Magus vocals on ‘Ατομα Και Κενον’ intro remind me of the old glorious Rotting Christ period 1989-1996 and some N.A.O.S. recitations. The song’s atmosphere and vibe are close to bands like Blasphemy and Revenge (Can), yet a bit more mystical.
The same titled ‘Ανεγνων, Εγνων, Κατεγνων’ starts with a very emotional intro, amazing work on the fretless bass and great overtones. Stefan “Necroabyssious” of Varathron with his performance takes us back to the “His Majesty at the Swamp” days. The female vocals are a wise addition for the song and sound as if coming straight from an ancient Hellenic ceremony. The Hellenic islands Askaulos/Tsabouna, a very demanding wind instrument underlines the Hellenic tradition in the song that will fade out in the end with a dark, nightly piano/synth theme. ‘Νυχθημερον’ offers a progressive/experimental vocal orchestration with both clean and brutal vocals, recitations and chants. The riffs are basic, but drastically effective. The songwriting is experimental in its excellency. Early Therion and Celtic Frost would surely dig this one. ‘Εωα’ is the most chaotic song of the album and was put in the right place on the tracklist. It seems that the whole album is very carefully studied by ΩΝ and nothing is left to luck. The song shows some ultra brutal grunts over a steady rhythm section and chopped riffing that gallops to the battle. The song can be described as experimental epic black metal.
‘Αυτοματα’ features a futuristic/experimental orchestration. Christos Antoniou of Septicflesh experimented a lot in this one and to me it sounds like a progressive vision of black metal in the after Dodheimsgard times. Brutal, spacey, fresh, old school all blend to one! A totally “love or hate” song. ‘Ανευ Καθαρμων’ is the most “rock” song of the album. The riff sounds Black Label Society meets Pantera but heavier and more dangerously extreme. Efthimis Karadimas of Nightfall wrote the lyrics and sung them in this one! The rock attitude continues with the opening lead of ‘Εστιν Ουρανος Ου Μεγας’. The song reflects the unity between heavy metal and black metal. Yiannis Papanikolaou (Diviner, ex-InnerWish) and Costas Papadopoulos (Karma Violens) guitars show the way. Yiannis Papanikolaou uses his voice in a similar way only to what bands like Storm did in the past, but with a personal orama. The Pontian Lyra of ‘Αηρ Τε Και Αιθηρ’ is very dramatic and reflects the pain of a whole nation. The hardcore elements of the song blend well with the drama. ‘Αληθης Λογος’ is a dark anthem, dedicated to the old school black metal and the early days of the Greek scene. A gem with harmonious guitar layers and strong impact on the listener. Whispering vocals make the song’s secrecy even more intense. The constant tempo changes and the chaotic vocal lines leave the listener breathless waiting to be saved from the next riff. The last song of the album, ‘Αποσκοτησον Μου’ begins with a southern rock/blues mood with acoustic guitars and harmonica. The blues mood is kept throughout, and heavy riffs appear to gradually dominate the song. At the end of this 12 minutes song you cannot avoid the feeling that you have listened to many songs in one.
The first 300 copies of “Anegnon, Egnon, Kategnon” come in a custom-made leather cover with a silk print book, a 52page booklet and of course the CD. The booklet is very rich and there has been an amazing work done in texts which come both in Greek and English. Alcyone Records did a great job in the packaging which looks amazingly good. Undeniably ΩΝ have a progressive/experimental vision for black metal. They worked in secrecy for more than 20 years, they cooperated with the right musicians to bring their orama to live and here they present it. It is a very personal view of what is progressive and experimental for black metal. The band keeps a great old school character, they add modern core elements and experiment a lot with the mix, the production and the instruments they use in respect to the Balkan and Ancient Greek roots. I think “Anegnon, Egnon, Kategnon” (in English: “I read, I understood, I condemned” – please search for and read the story behind it) deserves the attention of open-minded black metal and progressive metal fans.
4.5 / 5 STARS