Ὁπλίτης (Hoplites) – Ψευδομένη (Review)

Ὁπλίτης - ΨευδομένηThis is the debut album from Ὁπλίτης (otherwise known as Hoplites), a one-man post-black metal band from China.

Ψευδομένη contains 38 minutes of experimental avant-garde black metal. The artist behind Ὁπλίτης has combined a lot of different styles and influences into this record. Imagine Blut Aus Nord, Jute Gyte, and Deathspell Omega crossed with Frontierer, Converge, and Sectioned, along with a touch of Ephel Duath and Oranssi Pazuzu, and you’ll have a rough idea of what you’ll encounter here.

Ψευδομένη is a dissonant black metal album at heart that mixes non-black metal elements into itself to produce something unusual and striking. It’s a very technical record, and amidst the atonal carnage you can hear a lethal dose of violent mathcore, which lends the album a very contemporary edge. The album’s vicious blackened aggression is full of rampant complexity and psychotic riffs. Most of the tracks are short and brutal, but always pack a lot of content into their snarling, twisted durations.

Despite its inherent chaos, Ψευδομένη is not without its esoteric atmospheric side. This lets its presence be known in the unlikeliest of places, yet slots in with the music’s overall harshness very well. Progressive aspects start to infect the music more and more as the album unfolds, demonstrating restraint and dynamic structuring within the mayhem. This makes for an album with more to offer than might initially be apparent; once you get accustomed to the music’s sonic overload there is much to explore across these nine tracks.

While abrasive and caustic, there’s also mysterious atmosphere and dissonant mood-building here. Ψευδομένη is exceedingly violent, but it is also nuanced and laced with virulent subtleties. It’s complex and technical, but also able to get to the heart of the matter through sheer blackened brutality or atypical atmosphere. Ψευδομένη is a very impressive and enjoyable album, and I can’t recommend Ὁπλίτης enough.

Essential listening for connoisseurs of extreme metal.

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