Fourth Monarchy – Amphilochia (2007)

fourth_monarchy_-_amphilochia

Some rarities of excellence get skipped because they are misunderstood, and others because they are hard to write about. Amphilochia may be one of the latter: a black metal band that is difficult to describe except as a series of sensations organized around an unstated but pervasive theme, like mysticism in a technological age.

For a short comparison, if the reader envisions a hybrid between Kvist and Rotting Christ, the rough agenda will be communicated: longer melodies in the Southern European style, but fit together with the intense rhythm and focus on swelling internal harmony used by the English and Swedish bands, with Sacramentum and later Merciless coming to mind there. Song development is circular for the most part, with a variation inserted at the end of each epicycle so that it intensifies the next cycle, sort of like those old adding machines that used mechanical wheels to increment counters.

Unlike most recent black metal, Fourth Monarchy remember to keep the beauty balanced with the intense melancholic darkness and misanthropy that forms the cornerstones of black metal. This music is pleasurable to listen to, or more accurately, makes morbid and elitist martial violence into an object of beauty, adorning the passage of time with an elegance and naturalistic passion.

For some, there will be quibbles. Some speed metal muted strum bouncy riffs work their way in, and the overall assault uses melodic phrases so frequently that it seems almost treacle, but then rebounds with surging violence. Vocals are not particularly distinct but are savage, and like Kvist, the band keeps the intensity high through riffs that are paired to each other through both phrasal and melodic similarities. This mixes well with Infamous and Emperor.

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8 thoughts on “Fourth Monarchy – Amphilochia (2007)”

  1. Smocaine says:

    Finally a modern-ish band that’s actually worth a damn.

  2. Johan P says:

    The cover reminds me of Abhor, will check this out!

  3. Anthony says:

    …and of course they’ve fucking broken up, probably because “the scene” in 2007 was only looking for stuff that sounded like Leviathan or Wolves in the Throne Room. Come back with an eco-feminist suicidal gimmmick next time, boys! Actually the vocalist from this band is in another band called Veneror now who play a similar kind of melodic black metal. A little bit more guitar-oriented Unanimated-ish than the symphonies we hear from Fourth Monarchy, but still good stuff.

  4. Smocaine says:

    Yep, Veneror is also juicy.

  5. Memoncy - Joined in Dankness says:

    This is good, no-frills black metal. Reminds me of Vinterland but less clich├ęd melodically.

  6. Bruce Dick In Son says:

    Thanks for the tip, this is really good!

  7. fghjmkhj6 says:

    Kvist meets Iron Maiden. Like Dawn, with a little more variation. Some OK moments, but not mind-blowing.

  8. Kev says:

    Nice call. That guitar tone is great. Like a rapier cutting through..everything

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