Kawir – Isotheos (2012)

Kawir Isotheos

Article by David Rosales

Kawir is a band that belongs to that side of metal whose discussion allows the true metal nihilist to distinguish between free minds who embrace the spirit of metal’s independence from political or religious doctrine. Metal has been characterized by its portrayals of power, courage and strength, while looking down on sheepish behavior, compliance with the system and general cowardice. When bands who openly express musical worship of Pagan ideals as a source for racial/national power, it gives one the opportunity to weed out the sheep in metal guise. The metal nihilist will find in the concept of the pagan theme in metal yet another expression of pride and power apt for the narrative of timeless natural struggle. He may dispassionately nod its head to the idea without necessarily embracing it as something that speaks to him, personally. He holds the burning flame of life in front of him, observing the destroying consumption that drives action in eternal co-dependence with passive materia. He stares at it directly without fear of having the miserable protective borders of human-society constructs burn away, nay, welcoming this removal of the illusory.

But the infiltrator will often reveal himself by expressing typical modern-urban discomfort in the face of the tribal roots of these ideas, deeming them not sophisticated enough and the product of ignorant naturalists and superstitious people– because they have obviously never even read Karl Marx, let alone Michel Foucault or Noam Chomsky. We also find the majority of undecided metal fans who can guiltily accept these “rash” ideas in the context of artistic expression, although not without signs of rubor on their cheeks and heavy perspiration on trembling hands, more characteristic of virtuous maidens than courageous warriors. Yes, metal is masculine, and no, it does not imply misogyny. These last at least exhibit the intellectual honesty towards which metal tends to gravitate, even if the shackles of their own societies and times can still be felt as they adopt a tongue-in-cheek disposition and keep their fingers crossed behind their backs in a sort of secular modern superstitious fear. One may still find them making quick apologies for the band or comical quips that prove their allegiance to their in-time, humanist ideals, putting their puny minds at rest that they have not incurred in heresy.

Isotheos (ίσο – θεος, ‘equal [to] god’ — Godlike) is the Apollonian in-time expression through metal and minimalist Hellenic elements of Dionysian timelessness, the underlying human genetic memory of survival that Nietzsche wisely derived and intuited and that Jung demonstrated empirically. This collective unconscious speaks to us in mental images, flashes of emotion and conceptual ephemeral . A sign that Kawir places utmost importance on the core and significance, rather than on the temporary expression of these, is that although there is a clear embracing of the products of Greek pre-classical antiquity as the heritage of its nation and people, references to both pre-Hellenic and Roman outward manifestations are admitted into the concept of the album. The album deals with the transcendental aspect of Greek symbology, not as temporary and superficial expressions of this or that period, but as evidence to the unique evolutionary path of Greek survival arising as fumes from boiling blood.

Musically, Isotheos revolves completely around simple, modal themes, which in no moment cede to any other element. While there are vocals, rhythm guitars and often more than one melody line, the centrality of the theme is never, even for one moment, lost. Kawir simultaneously achieves the high-energy, dense locomotive character of metal that rides on thundering drums, as well as the melodious, inspiring horizon-gazing sounds of primeval Greece. These, we have now come to associate with the ancient temples and oracles through reconstructions of that ancient European music. Rhythm depends on power chord phrases closer to the approach of Witchfinder General than Iron Maiden, thus a stronger backbone and less distraction. Despite this adherence to simplicity (the beautiful simplicity, the ‘good simplicity’ of Plato’s Socrates), there is no lack of variety, and through smart use of economical and effective use of a close-style repertoire of techniques achieves a strong and fluent expression.

Particularly stamped on the capable listener’s mind will be the natural consistency with which themes are treated, the healthy growth of variations without even the slightest hint of pretension. In no moment does technique supersede communication and structure, a balanced sort of modest beauty that maintains its worth by carefully and sparingly choosing climaxes that never come beforehand. This is achieved through gradually evolving the theme, so that a structure of cyclic transformation is represented. Each song makes use of one theme only, usually, tying it poetically with the concept, and making absolutely revolve around it. This is not a theme on a melody dancing above moving harmony with an occasional quote and echo, but rather the whole of the music adds a grain to the theme itself, as it assumes no definite form and all forms. While the classical variation starts from a primordial seed that is represented in increasingly complex forms, the ancient spirit of Kawir’s music lends no particular importance to any of the manifold incarnations of Dionysian memory. To be more precise, what we find on Isotheos are not the strict romantic themes, but motific variations that are kept at relatively close Levenshtein distances, thereby guarding them from disfiguration.

In this music, every single aspect is important and none of them are. Their preservation in transfomations is immortal, but their temporary forms or manifestations are only suitable for that instant and hold no value in and of themselves. Each moment is distinctive but strongly related to future and past, as water raining on the tops of mountains, running through ravines, precipitating down waterfalls and reinvading the ocean uncountable times as no single drop of water survives but is reincarnated. If there ever was an album that explicitly collects the Nietzschean balance of the Apollonian and Dionysian, it is Isotheos. If there is any place in metal which takes one closer to the Platonic musical ideal through appropriate forms, it is Isotheos.

Isotheos may be purchased from Deathrune Records.

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25 thoughts on “Kawir – Isotheos (2012)”

  1. Motorized Sucking Anus says:

    David, this Greek band sucks. Review this band instead: Infernäl Mäjesty – Unholier than Thou

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW5IKTTx07U

    1. David Rosales says:

      Sounds just mildly entertaining, and I am not too keen on 2nd rate speed metal. Perhaps someone else wants to give it a shot around here.

      1. Anthony says:

        That’s not really a representative sample of the canonical Infernäl Mäjesty work. You might want to check out “Night of the Living Dead” off their 1987 None Shall Defy album. It’s an early work of epically structured epic death thrash speed type stuff.

      2. Can you survive the blitzkrieg says:

        Their album None Shall Defy seems to be a missing link of sorts in bridging the two Morbid Angels and even seem to be a big influence on Nocturnus, Infernal Majesty are most certainly worthy.

  2. Pythagorean says:

    Have very much enjoyed Kawir. This is a fine album.

    Regarding above comment, he must have missed the whole point of the first paragraph (also Infernäl Mäjesty is Canadian??) What is the connection?

    Metal can be the orthodox elements we are all familiar with from the 70s through the 90s (aggressive, fast, evil), but metal is not a slave to those elements, it can reach to remember ancient ideas of the past, in doing so, transcending into new territory. Kawir reaches for these ancient Greek ideals. Their song writing an honest and dedicated focus on these primordial forces, not just common stapled aggression with your basic metal tropes. Kawir is within the circle of Greek’s best metal.

  3. Brett Stevens says:

    “The underlying human genetic memory of survival that Nietzsche wisely derived and intuited and that Jung demonstrated empirically.”

    Nietzsche was suspicious of Darwinism you boob. And Jung didn’t empirically prove anything. Psychoanalysis is pretty much looked on as piss these days. It’s clinical effectiveness is around chance level, and it’s ontology is too crude.

    Look to modern evolutionary psychology, and better yet gene-culture co-evolution theory for what you’re looking for.

    As for this release, it’s more heavy metal dressed up black metal that is supposedly profound cause Rosales is in some traditionalist love phase at the moment apparently.

    I come here for information about quality metal, not for the latest release information from NO COLOURS records.

    1. David Rosales says:

      1. I’m not referring to Darwinism, you must be confused simply because I used the word ‘gene’.
      2. Psychoanalysis is indeed scrap. But Jung went far beyond Psychoanalysis, his life’s original work starts with his criticism of Freud. Jung is not a Psychoanalyst.

      I’m going to leave it there and advice you to study more and read more carefully.

      1. Brett Stevens says:

        2. You are indeed correct in your criticism.

        However, Jung was pretty much ‘just’ a precursor to evolutionary psychology. And evolutionary psychology, in turn, is not as empirically sound as the newer gene-culture convolution approach to studying human behaviour from a ‘genetic’ perspective.

        Brett.

        1. OnlyInDeath says:

          The value in Jung’s work has more to do with symbology and comparative mythology (see James Frazer and Joseph Campbell) than psychology; lumping him in with Freud is a disservice to ol’ Carl G.

          1. LifeAfirmingExistentialist says:

            So your saying his work has more to do with self-marketing/self-identification. Fascinating!

  4. Forbinator says:

    This album contains too much silliness which can only be excused by the “It has deep cultural significance and you’re just not cultured enough to understand it!” gambit. Try their 2008 album “Ophiolatreia” instead, which is a much more honest and coherent effort.

    1. David Rosales says:

      I found that one silly, boring and not conceptually solid enough.

      I see Isotheos as very good and focused heavy-doom metal.

      1. hammer says:

        They have a new album coming out at the end of the month.

        What do you make of these?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ESytIJK1Wk
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Bl6TzsOq4w

  5. MP says:

    Great find and an inspiring review.

  6. hammer says:

    I, too, like Ophiolatreia more but this looks like gold next to Nokturnal Mortum, and I wouldn’t call it dressed up, it doesn’t even try to hide its heavy metal affinities. Also,let’s be honest here, Brett’s criticism applies as well to the highly praised by him last Burzum album, they ‘re both promotion for “muh ancient culture”. Varg pretty much openly admits this.

    1. David Rosales says:

      PS. THAT WASN’T BRETT COMMENTING. IT WAS AN IMPOSTER.

      1. Brett Stevens says:

        Do not assume that what lies behind the light of the sun is the cause of illumination.

        Crow.

      2. Little Lupe says:

        David R You look so hot when you’re mad! I feel like I wanna have your baby pronto ! Lets meet, my pussy is so wet right now.

      3. hammer says:

        Are you really David Rosales?

      4. Pythagorean says:

        I was going to as the same thing. That was hilarious if that was Brett.

      5. Brett Stevens says:

        Real Brett Stevens here!

        Just wanted to let all of you in the comments section know that I’m proud of you and I think each and every one of you is special! Thanks and have a great day!

        1. David Rosales says:

          YOU ALL NEED TO STOP BEING PUSSY KEYBOARD WARRIORS.

          Seriously, have any of you considered contributing instead of gas-bagging?

  7. LostInTheANUS says:

    When I listen to Greek music like this I gotta ask: Does anyone wanna be my catamite?

  8. vOddy says:

    Does any one want to be my mentor?

    My hair less thighs are ready

  9. LifeAfirmingExistentialist says:

    Thank you for the review! I will be listening to and analyzing this!

Comments are closed.