By description alone Grecian band Tethrippon (Τέθριππον) stands out. Formed in 2006, the two founding members play a style of martial folk wholly dedicated to and influenced by the spirit of their Hellenic ancestors. After two initial independent releases, the project was signed to an Austrian label and released their self-titled full length in 2009.
Musically, it’s pure militaristic domination, simultaneously showcasing an amount of flexibility and dimension not often seen in the martial folk genre by shifting atmosphere at the drop of a pin and incorporating elements of dark neofolk and orchestral ambient. The rhythmic percussion surprisingly never deters from the overall package, instead enhancing it. Continually evolving, tracks such as “Mother Nature’s Hymn” set the tone for the overall release, offering substantial progression and constant evolution. On songs “Dominant of Senses” rolls around, you begin to wonder if this is even the same band you put on in the first place.
The lyrics are Greek, literally, written by vocalist Constantinos and heavily influenced by Orphic hymns (ancient Hellenic poetry and lyrics) in theme and structure. In the past, whenever it came to martial folk the vocal delivery was always a deciding factor in whether or not I could even tolerate a band. Thankfully Constantinos chooses a delivery style that feels truly epic, and I mean that in the traditional sense. Despite the fact that I don’t speak or understand the language, the aesthetic created by the delivery is palpable.
Tethrippon is one of the most unique projects I’ve heard in a long while, reminiscent of Hungarian contemporaries Cawatana. Ranging from the epic to the subdued, this is an album deserving of your time and full undivided attention, accessible to both veterans and newcomers to martial folk. However, I don’t recommend just throwing this on for background noise, it is absolutely necessary to crank up the volume and just immerse yourself.