Agathodaimon - Phoenix

1. Heliopolis
2. Devil's Deal
3. Decline
4. Ground Zero
5. Ghost Of A Soul
6. Winterchild
7. Time Is The Fire
8. To Our Ashes
9. Amongst The Vultures
10. Oncoming Storm
11. Throughout The Fields Of Unshaded Grace
12. Grey Whisper

Sathonys - Guitar, clean vocals
Jan Jansohn - guitars
Felix Ü. Walzer - Keyboards
Manuel Steitz - drums
Ashtrael - vocals


Tomb Sculptures (1997)
Blacken the Angel (1998)
Higher Art of Rebellion (1999)
Bislang [EP] (1999)
Chapter III (2001)
Serpent's Embrace (2004)

Released 03/20/09
Reviewed 04/27/09


Like the Phoenix this bands stands up from the ashes of a five year recess since releasing their latest album before this one that is called Phoenix, perhaps the name is from that firebird that stands up from its own ashes every time it dies.

The band is by Massacre Records considered the largest dark metal band of Germany, and they have a lot to live up to when it comes to this album. Not only do they have the pressure of living up to the praise of reviewers when it comes to the earlier albums and also good sales from earlier. But they don’t only have that to live up to, they have been away for five years and that is a thing that also adds pressure to the band.

Musically the band plays heavy, yet melodic dark metal with lots of catchieness and an almost positive sound at least considering the genre of which the band stand. The genre is the one where they mix clean and growly dark vocals with the upper hand for the darker vocals. I have heard the band earlier but cannot really recollect how they sounded and can therefore not compare this record to any earlier effort by the band.

This record starts with a track called Heliopolis which is possibly the best track on the album, at least if you discount the bonus tracks of the limited first edition. Heliopolis is about everything I just described in the previous section of this review and it sets a powerful tone to the record. A tone that is held up rather well in one good track after another until the very good bonus tracks called Alone in the Dark in two versions where the second one might be the best one and possibly the best on the album, such an ending that leaves a lasting impression of the record.

Still, there is a but when it comes to this record and that is the same Achilles heel as so many other records have these times, I think you know what I mean. With over 72 minutes of music this record is just too long, no matter how you look at it, 72 minutes is just too many minutes no matter how many good tracks you have on the record. This is a curse of the CD, it has too much space and I am afraid that newer technology might introduce even longer records, it seems the temptation to add just about every track written during the period is getting to strong and that hurts the record.

As a stand alone point each track of this record is very good but as a unity it just cannot stand up for itself, it can’t really stand as a unity and that is too sad as this could have been a nice milestone for dark metal but I guess it is a sign of things to possibly come. I find myself seeing this record as a three part thing, with a good start, a dull centre and a good ending and that is something that is not good for the overall rating which of course is what we rate in our reviews.

In the end, this is a very good and powerful record, unfortunately the phrase ”less is more” hasn’t reached German dark metallers and that is something of a problem as this record could really have lifted off from the ground if that phrase would have reached these guys. Still, taking those things into consideration and working from that principle I think this band’s next album can be a real hit.

Still, Phoenix is a good album, the problem is only that it is too long, at 72 minutes plus it is just too much.


Label - Massacre Records
Three similar bands - //
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm