A very pleasant and refreshing surprise came from out of nowhere to bring one of my most listened albums of the last months. The debut album of Litrosis with the contrary title “I Am Death” brought me much positive feelings, and an air of the older years of the inspirational European scene, filtered with fresh air of the ‘10s decade. When I first saw the cover I was sure it was going to be something good, it brings you a feeling of something majestic and carefully structured. Passing to the compositions, you only have to listen to the album to be convinced we’re dealing with something serious here, something that the whole Greek scene seemed to be missing the last years. The album has a basis of the black metal outbursts, but with a Greek (call it European if you don’t like it, you’re still on the point) feeling which covers the compositions, just when you’d first listen to bands like Rotting Christ, Nightfall, Septicflesh and more pioneers from our country.
On the other hand, Litrosis is not a band that copies anyone, they chose a way which is difficult and we must praise them for this. I say difficult because they are melodic, in parts symphonic, but on most of the album they are fast and furious. Furious from pain and anger which must be deep rooted and this story must be told throughout the nine compositions of ‘’I Am Death’’. So, does death bring redemption (the definition of Litrosis in Greek language) in the end? Yes to some, no to others. What matters is that the band manages from the very beginning with ‘’Insomniac’s Lullabye’’ (nice title, huh?) to mark its signal to the metal scene and show that they came to stay and offer something full of quality. The vocals are rough and raw, painful and expressive, they could remind you of God Dethroned’s Henri Sattler in his more black metal approach. Still, they are the wild card of the album and draw pictures in front of you, just like on the marvellous cover.
The guitars have a sound which reminds of the ‘90s Scandinavian bands, mixed with the old Greek identity of the bands mentioned above and the final result brings Litrosis to the front line as the main actors. Their play may not win the Oscar award of being prototype, but they convince you it comes from the heart. ‘’Soulcide’’ is a track whose beginning would be much envied by today’s In Flames or Dark Tranquillity. ‘’Burn The Sun’’ is a hidden diamond and one of the best tracks ever composed by a Greek band. The duo of the ferocious ‘’Countless Wounds’’ and the title track ‘’I Am Death’’ will surely wake you up if you still feel confused about catching the meaning behind Litrosis’ music. It is ‘’Blood Red Desert Plains’’ which will make you ask why such an album was not released earlier for the Greek scene. Everything works in favour of the band as the songs flow and you get to know the album better with each listening.
The band keeps the best for the end, with an amazing track entitled ‘’In The Grave You Go Alone’’ (bitter but still very true fact) . The last thing I’ve waited from a Greek band is a track reminding me of the old glorious Savatage days. Now you may wonder, how does this happen in such an aggressive and painful album? First of all, we have Zachary Stevens, from Circle II Circle and ex-Savatage vocalist on this track, making some of his best singing ever, in a track eliminating the most he’s done with his current band, and I dare saying that it could very easily belong in any ‘90s Savatage album. I also think that for some strange reason, Criss Oliva would smile full of joy if he could learn about this cooperation of his old friend and the Greek band. Quite a hit under the belt, especially if you are not prepared for it, the best thing is it doesn’t hurt at all. Last but definitely not least, comes the great instrumental “Bury The Dead”.
A very emotional ending in a very emotional album, closing the journey to redemption in a great way (if you listen to it after the three minute gap in the middle, it gets even better). Litrosis offered one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in years, not only for Greece but in general, it sounds so fresh and special that it’s definite they will do the breakthrough with the next album. The only thing I could mention as somehow negative is the production which could bring out the abilities of all members much more and the thick drum sound which sounds a little back in the final mixing (the drums are amazing inside the compositions though, one thing doesn’t make the other less good). If they pay a little more attention to these two factors, they will surely create something even better than “I Am Death”. At first, they can claim that they are a very interesting case that fans of combined melody and aggression will definitely like. The first step was made, if they build on this steady basis, they will create a masterpiece in about two years.