Whether you already know who Belzebubs are or not, mark my words: Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods is one of the most interesting pieces of art you’ll be seeing this year, I swear. You’ll probably think that this is much an exaggeration, but compared to the band’s debut coming out right away via Century Media Records it’s not that mad, isn’t it? And here’s where you start thinking: how the heck did a brand new band sign a contract with such a big label? How did four apparently anonymous Finns make such an impressive start?
These corpse-painted Gorillaz, born from the mind of the Finnish comic writer JP Ahonen, are undoubtedly talented and capable of great things, as anyone might have noticed from “Blackened Call”, the song which forerun the release of Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods. Many have speculated upon the identity of singer (and bass player) of the band but JP himself told our Bosj that he’s definitely not Niilo Sevänen from Insomnium. Still knowing nothing about the members of the band, though, it’s pretty clear these musicians are not new to this game: Hubbath, Sløth, Samaël and Obesyx had many strings to their bows and shot them fearlessly and fiercely. Remarking the fact that this is something serious, then, Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods features various collaborations, namely Arcturus and Borknagar’s ICS Vortex and Cradle Of Filth and Antiqva’s Lindsay Schoolcraft, among others.
Do not assume even for a second, though, that this is some funny thing, due to its comic strip origins: JP Ahonen’s comedy remained on the pages, both digital and material, of his comics, finding no room in his music. Here black metal and death metal collide, chasing each other ceaselessly to take over and imprint the sound; choirs and strings fill the atmospheres from the very beginning of Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods to its end, softening its corners and enriching its texture with epic lines; progressive elements, moreover, come up here and there, mostly to be noticed in the drumming or in the soloing but also, although rarely, everywhere, totalizing the output. The themes of the lyrics, on the other hand, are as heavy as the music itself: lovecraftian verses (“Cathedrals Of Mourning”) and quotations from St John’s Apocalypse (“Nam Gloria Lucifer”) are the most evident signs of the kind of evil Ahonen and Co. (or, better, Hubbath, Sløth, Samaël and Obesyx) sing about; not as fun as naked Ihsahn on a stage, huh?
In addition, this album, which I would already define as truly interesting, has some more value: the hybrid nature of Ahonen’s multiform creature allows it to cross artistic boundaries with astonishing ease. Belzebubs‘ transdimentional narration is already successful, but the Finnish comics writer said that the band will perform live in the future, sooner or later, and that they’ll do it in a different way, with screens, animations and stuff, namely suggesting they’re going to revolutionize the actual concept of live music. Tons of questions may come now to your mind as they do to mine, but only future will tell us what’s going to happen; as for the present, on the other hand, something’s certain.
They’re the prophets of destruction, those who worship great old gods; they’re the kings of what’s gone and scattered to the wind, those who wait in the dark: they are Belzebubs and Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods foreshadows their arrival, in the name of evil.