"The Spear and the Ichor That Follows"

By Dr. Abner Mality

No family in history had the dire misfortunes of the House of Atreus. In Greek mythology, this cursed lineage was prey to incest, cannibalism, madness and murder. Pretty good subjects for a metal band to explore! Hence, we now have House of Atreus, named after the unfortunate clan.

This is a fine band with an interesting take on melodic death metal. Not interested in out of control mayhem, they've conjured up a classical style of mid-paced death that often reminds me of an ornate Bolt Thrower. The more measured pace gives an elegant, doomy feel that really has the sound of classical mythology. There are a lot of twin guitar melodies amidst the pounding rumble and the gruff, raw vocals of one Anxietous Nero add a death metal touch. It's a merging of sound and subject matter that gives House of Atreus a rather unique touch, especially for an American band.

The album rocks throughout but areas of special interest are "Messenger of a Shaken Host" (my pick for best cut), a surging "Heir to the Crown of Sodom" and "Beasts of Antiquity". The pace occasionally quickens, but this could never be described as blindingly fast. That's just as well, because I don't think House of Atreus would work with a Suffocation or Aborted type sound.

The real House of Atreus ended in tragedy but the future looks bright for their musical namesake.