A lot can change in five years. Bands and projects come and go, labels open and shut down. That’s about the amount of time I start to question the status of a project if there not a hint of activity. So after such a hiatus, German Discordian Post-Industrial project Son of Eris returned with their sophomore album, defying doubt and again strumming the chords of Chaos. The label publishing this release is Rage in Eden Records, who themselves released Son of Eris’ debut under the record label’s prior moniker, War Office Propaganda, back in 2005. Said debut broke away from popular Northern European mythologies and themes, and would blend Neofolk guitar work with layers of abstract soundscapes, much of which carried through on Kallisti.
On the surface the Greek mythological connections are obvious and one could make the mistake to leave it at that. But if you dig deeper you’ll see that the Greek myths are used as metaphors for Chaos, which I see as being the driving force behind “Kallisti”. I have a feeling that people behind Son of Eris have a strong connection, or at least familiarity, with Discordianism and Chaos Magic, having intentionally left clues for the listener to pick up on. Finding the relationships in the symbols and song titles was intriguing, and helped me formulate an overarching theme and atmosphere in subsequent listening sessions.
First of all, Eris is a vital figure in Discordianism, being the Greek goddess of discord and all. The title of the album and first track, “Kallisti” (“To the fairest”), was the word engraved on the golden “Apple of Discord” which was tossed at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis and set the stage for the Judgment of Paris, or as Discordians call it, the Original Snub. The goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite fought over who the apple referred to, with the ill-fated Paris, Prince of Troy, appointed as judge. After being offered the most beautiful woman on Earth, Helen of Sparta, as his bribe, Paris chooses Aphrodite over the others, a decision which ultimately leads to the great Trojan War.
Theme and atmosphere can bind an album together, giving it cohesion and focus, but at the end one must ask, does it deliver the goods? In that case, I have some reservations. The guitar melodies are enjoyable, especially the evocative delayed pieces on the title track. But I can’t help but feel a strong sense of repetition throughout the album, for example it sounds like the same guitar progression is used on Weltkrieg and Welt Weit Krieg. I can understand the relationship between the two war themed tracks, but the repeated chords seem to keep cropping up across the album. Another criticism would be a lack of polish in the production. Some of the vocals and instruments have overlayed frequencies, causing muddiness. The album overall sounds a bit too tinny for my taste, a boost to the mid-to-low levels would have helped. Mastering and repetition aside, there is some strong musicianship on display here. The entrancing Industrial/Noise interlude that is “Fallen Ones Spell” would do well in a sigil casting ritual, and the other-timely crackles and piano pieces on Armageddon serve as a magnificent prelude to the martial drums and sweeping synths that close out the album.
I like what Son of Eris is trying to accomplish here, and can see much talent and potential to execute a truly magical work. With some improved mastering and editing I could see this band standing out amongst the me-too Norse influenced Neofolk projects out there. But until then, I’d have to recommend this album only to those who have an attraction towards Chaos/Discord Magic or don’t mind tweaking their EQ settings to get something different from the Martial/Neofolk genre.
2. Vom Geheimen Herzen Der Erde
5. Fallen Ones Spell
6. First Order
7. Welt Weit Krieg
8. Nichts Ist Wahr