Artist: Blackthorn
Album: Codex Archaos

Year: 2011
Genrer: Black Metal, Gothic Metal, Symphonic Metal
Run time: 43 minutes
My rating: 4 out of 5

The mere utterings of the words like Goth and Symphonic Black Metal usually makes my stomach cringe and my childish badboy image sharpen it´s spikes, but there are those that adds a little extra and Russian Blackthorn are one of the acts that I hold high in regard.

Obviously some are making a big fuzz over that Blackthorn is an all female band but women have been around in the metalscene since forever and many of them being better than us guys, so i´m not going to mention that again, but I´ll might just write an article about women in the extreme metal scene in the future if someone would be interested to read it.

When it comes to their musical approach it´s further down the Symphonic black metal lane than Goth music but those influences are there and they are strong.

If I was going to compare them to other bands (which most of the time is a graven mistake but a functional one in some cases) I would say the Norwegian bands The Sins of Thy Beloved and Trail of Tears but instead of the lethargic vein in their music they decided to step it up and fire up their sound with big bit off Anorexia Nervosa, Hecate Enthroned and Ceremonial CastingsCodex Archaos is their third album and the first one that I found a genuine interest off and that is probably because of the black metal infuences that seems to have been given a bigger part in this release.

The arrangements of the vocals are the same as The Sins of Thy Beloved, a blending pot of Elviras deep, meaty growls and Ainas black metal stylish screams and soprano vocals, that´s where Trail of Tears came in and some of the music reminds me a little bit of A New Dimension of Might but Ainas vocals does not resemble either Cathrine Paulsen nor Helena Iren Michaelsen so technically I could have named any band in the genre from Tristania, Angtoria to Tarja and it still wouldn´t be correct, Ainas sopranic vocals are very even although varied and angelic to say the least, they carry up the melodic side of the music perfectly even if it´s in a blastbeatpaced part and there are a great share of those.

As mentioned the compostions mainly belong to the Symphonic Black Metal music more similar to Anorexia Nervosa´s hopefully not last effort Redemption as things does not get as insane as Drudenhaus for example, then we have a great share of variations alike the newly deceased Ceremonial Castings wich means a little bit of trash, metal and then we have the  gothic refinings that cleans it all up and finds it´s way out of the speakers and everything is presented in a great thick production.

The general tone of Codex Archaos is aggressive and the driving force is Varaska who punishes her drumset into complete submission. As always everything isn´t on the positive side there are parts that drags the music down and a couple of bits that feels all too plastic mainly because of the syntheizers but it seems like those things are cleared up as i have heard in their later material consistng of digital singles that includes the song Era Obscura (2012) and the Anorexia Nervosa cover Sister September (2013)  and they more or less nailed that cover and I can even say that they improved it by adding their own personal touch.

Blackthorn is preparing for a new album and i have seen the musicvideo Spectral Evildence that they released as a teaser,  I can easily say that they have really evolved musicwise and all flaws seems to be shed but that remains to be seen. And I really hope that Aina will take over the artwork for the upcoming album because her art fits the bands musical and image style alot, even though the Necronomicon like concept for Codex Archaos is a pretty cool idea I did find the cover art a little bit out of place.

I wouldn´t be surprised if any of the bigger recordlabels like Napalm, Candlelight, Century or Nuclear offers them a deal in the near future.


Band members:
Aina - Vocals
Elvira Alchemida - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Greta - Bass
Varaska - Drums
Less - Violin

Label: MSR Production
Country: Russia

Bandcamp: https://blackthorn.bandcamp.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BlackthornMetal