Yoth Iria - Under His Sway

Rotting Christ is undoubtedly the biggest metal band to ever emerge from Greece. For a long time it was rumoured that 2 members of the first period of the band, Magus (aka Morbid and Magus Wampyr Daoloth) who played keyboards/piano and did backing vocals in Rotting Christ from 1991-1995 and Jim Mutilator, bassist, main lyricist and founding member of Rotting Christ (1987-1996) have joined forces and are working on something new.

When the name of the band Yoth Iria surfaced, the lyrics from 'The Fourth Knight Of Revelation' from Rotting Christ's magnum opus "Thy Mighty Contract" (for some the best black metal album ever recorded) came to my mind: "Yoth Iria - Unholy Master, Yoth Iria - Prince Of Fire".

Yoth Iria debut EP was highly anticipated from all underground black/death metal lovers and from all the Greek scene fans worldwide. In this debut EP effort, great session musicians joined the Yoth Iria boat: George Emmanuel (also ex-Rotting Christ, 2012-2019) on guitars and J.V.Maelstrom on drums. Jim Patsouris performed the keybords.

For those who expected Yoth Iria to offer an old school memorabilia release, "Under His Sway" although it carries with it the aura of the 90's, it will disappoint them. For those who treasure good music, seek quality songwriting and still have the ability to open their ears and hearts, "Under His Sway" shall be a soul-shaking experience!

'Under His Sway' intro performed on the piano over an occult wind is followed by whispers and a lead guitar theme that sounds "Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers" influenced. The nice melody of the mid tempo riff over the excellent drum patterns create the necessary space for Magus to bring forth his spells. The whole composition delivers again the old heavy metal feeling in a solid songwriting. The chorus vocals reminded me once more of the after-"Aealo" Rotting Christ works. Magus vocals are timeless. Pure gold! The melodic lines of the song are groundshaking. The acoustic parts are deeply emotional and reveal the skills of George Emmanuel (Lucifer's Child), a great guitar player. His lead may be short, but it is exactly what the song needed. The band is concentrated on the performance of their songs rather than show off their skills. However, they are all excellent musicians. Focus on the song is what makes the songs better! This is gained with experience! And Yoth Iria may be a new band, but they are experienced and talented musicians!

'Sid-Ed-Gjinn' (possibly an Arabic phrase that means something like "Master, who has gone mad"). The basic riff of the song is a Rotting Christ "Ze Nigmar" / later Celtic Frost ("Monotheist" era) riff; mid tempo, imposing and grandiose. The chorus vocals give the song a ritual atmosphere. Yoth Iria don't pay tribute to old school here for the sake of memorabilia. With their excellent music skills they bring old school to the present. The obscure fairy female chorus vocals add to the song an occult sense and an aura of the after-"Aealo" Rotting Christ works (see also 4AD label and bands like This Mortal Coil or Dead Can Dance). An acoustic guitar break similar to Horrified (Gre) and old Septic Flesh (Esoptron) aesthetics and Magus' legendary vocal screams that we loved from Necromantia re-appear and are used as the entrance to the inner gates of the song. The coming riff is pure old school, performed with a fresh tone. It gives me a sense of Thou Art Lord throughout. The drum fills are excellent and don't exaggerate. The careful listener will surely find in 'Sid-Ed-Gjinn' (again) the secret and hidden connection of Greek black metal with old heavy metal and bands like Omen, Running Wild and Manowar. At the breaks, nice guitar fills serve as the canvas for the female chorus vocals. Magus' vocals as always are more than brilliant and utterly convincing. The lyrics are poetic and esoteric:
"There is no betrayal against me.
At the mansion of heavenly visions,
hand in hand to welcome the new age,
we are nothing of what once were.
(But pure visible magic)".
The song is a diamond!

'Visions Of The Dead Lover'(Rotting Christ cover) first appeared on 'Αποκαθήλωσις' 7" single (Osmose Prod. 1993). The song is an excellent example of the old school Greek black metal and of the old Rotting Christ sound. This new version is very well performed by 2 of the original version members. The song is transferred to the present in Yoth Iria style, but it still keeps the old Rotting Christ feeling. The speed of the song is the exact it should be (I still recall the story of the 7" version being faster due to a pressing plant mistake!). Nothing can beat the old school Greek black metal feeling. George did justice to the song and the great production brought a hidden diamond of the Greek discography to present!

In conclusion, "Under His Sway" EP is a mixture of all the eras of Greek black metal. It is by no means a nostalgia or a tribute to the old days album. On the contrary, it uses the elements and most of all the experience of the band's members to bring with respect the glorious Greek black metal days of the past to the present. It triumphantly succeeds!

The EP has 2 original songs and a Rotting Christ cover. The original songs sound closer to today's black metal. The cover sounds closer to the 90's black metal, but with better production and serves as a connection with the past of the band. Yoth Iria have an own style and surely have a lot more to give. I see "Under His Sway" as a promise for a great and triumphant full length. "Under His Sway" was recorded and mixed at Pentagram Studios.

This EP is dedicated in eternal memory of Baron Blood (Necromantia) trooper of the black arts, a great musician and pioneer of the extreme metal who sadly passed away few weeks ago (RIP).


1. Under His Sway
2. Sid-Ed-Djinn
3. Visions Of The Dead Lover (cover Rotting Christ)