Radamanthys, a technical death metal four-some form Towson, Md. have finally released an official recording. You can find it at the end of this blog post, downloadable for free.
I say finally, because I first encountered these guys nearly two years ago and just figured it was a matter of time before they would be opening for important headliners and putting out their first full-length.
Well, life is funny and sometimes life gets in the way. Either way, their debut effort Eternal Judgment is a beautiful beast of a thing. It’s just four songs and clocks in a just less than 15 highly satisfying minutes. Radamanthys is Alex Conti on vocals and guitar, Mario Pareja-Lecaros on lead guitar, Basil Chiasson on bass and Dan Sullivan on drums.
Eternal Judgment follows a theme of traveling down into the dark underworld of Hades. The listener is invited along a path from which there is no escape. But it is also about tight musicianship, expert execution and classic death metal melodies.
“March of the Dead” launches the demo with militaristic drumming and searing guitars that foreshadow what’s to come. It goes straight into the title track with its piercing guitar leads and the first strains of Alex’s vocals. And oh good gracias those guitar leads. The rhythm section is on point. You will have to check the stereo again and again to remind yourself that you are not listening to much more experienced musicians.
“Tartanus” pops opens with some heavy King-Crimson-esque chords. The group’s technical savvy really shines in the complexity of this song. The final track “Asphodel Meadows” is amazing, building tension to about its halfway point when Alex cries out “Never to get away!” In some ways, I feel like this track could be the halfway point of a full length, where the other half tells the story of how our dearly departed possibly escapes his final destination…or maybe he doesn’t.
Anyway, the demo is a brilliant effort for a young band. Hopefully, the people that matter will take note. I sent the band some questions. Here’s what they had to say:
How did Radamanthys come into existence?
Mario: So, since we started playing guitar we wanted to start a band. We use to jam at my house, brainstorming and getting our chops up. Our first incarnation featured Alex and me on guitars, Mo on vocals, Nick on bass and Mikey on drums. We had some disagreements on the bands directions, which led to the departure of Nick and Mikey who later went on to form Myopic. Basil joined us soon after, and I contacted Ari to play with us for the time being. This worked for a while, but we ran into problems with Mo mostly due to the travel distance since he came from Virginia. We brought Alex Hura to fill in vocals for a short period of time but ultimately decided to handle vocal duties ourselves Ari decided to focus on his other band Encrypted Sun. That led to recruiting Dan and that’s where we are now.
Who was Radamanthys (the character)?
Mario: Radamanthys has a few pieces of lore; he was one of the more just kings of Crete and upon his death was appointed a judge of the dead by Hades. He serves in the underworld determining what kind of punishment a person will receive and sending them to the appropriate area of Hades
Who writes the songs and what are they about?
Alex: I wrote most of the music and lyrics. Songs were then presented to the other band members who had free reign to alter their parts. Basil heavily edited the bass parts, I only wrote the basic framework. Sections with solos and leads were left blank to be completed by their respective players. The exception is “Asphodel Meadows” where Basil wrote the bass lead in the intro first, and I wrote a song around that.
The whole demo is a concept EP about descending into Hades to discover your fate in the afterlife. “March of the Dead” is supposed to be a literal march of the dead as deceased souls enter Hades and await their judgment. “Eternal Judgment” is about arriving at Hades and going through the process of being eternally judged. The songs refers to actual places and processes in Hades from Greek mythology such as crossing the river Styx lead by Charon on the ferry to the plains of judgment. It discusses the various realms of the underworld such as Tartarus (hell) and Asphodel (purgatory.) The chorus sums up the demo as we describe Radamanthys’ role and allude to everyone’s eventual eternal judgment. The next two songs are basic descriptions of the places mentioned in eternal judgment as you descend through Hades.
Here is the map I used for reference.
Where did the idea for this come from originally though, I mean for you to make this journey into songs?
Alex: Well, I wrote “Eternal Judgment” first and I realized there were all these cool places that we could elaborate on that were only briefly mentioned in the song. So I had the idea of taking a couple of these places and using them for other song. The melodies may have been already in the process, but I matched them on purpose. “Tartarus” has a very hellish feel, while the tapping riff in “Asphodel” has a very stagnant never-ending feel along with the creepy middle section with solos. That’s because, in a way, Asphodel is the worst of all, not painful but not pleasurable– “The Asphodel Meadows not of virtue nor sin.” We just did some research and tried to use of the information as best as we could and then along the way we made some stuff up on our own, because that’s really what mythology is.
What does the future hold for Radamanthys?
Alex: We will be promoting this demo as much as we can and try to get our name out to as many people as we can. Now that our demo is finished, we are currently looking for shows, and people should feel welcome to get in contact with us through our Facebook page for any show opportunities. We’re also possibly going to shoot a music video for one of the tracks!