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With a style reminiscent of power punching Deicide; in the blue album we have Aeon: a quintet hailing from Sweden with a record of 1 Demo, 1 EP, and 4 full-lengths, with the most recent coming by way of knockout.
And a knockout 'Aeons Black' was. Aeon came out throwing power punches in the first round and never let up, from track 1 until the track 15 with very few tracks being taken off. When envisioning what kind of boxer Aeon would be based on this album, I came to the conclusion that it would likely resemble someone who is Swedish, a heavyweight that has concussive power and possesses good stamina. That fighter probably would have been Ingemar Johansson, a heavyweight who had the ability to drop an opponent at any given moment with "toonder and lightning". Aeon likewise, showed with this album that a knockout can come at any point.
In this album, Aeon has sacrificed a little technical ability with the intent of slowing the tempo and creating more groove induced riffs. This, to me, is their smartest move as musicians. This approach has also reduced the tech-influenced guitar tone you would hear frequently on their previous albums. They went with a thick and meaty sound, which is more tasteful. The riffs however, are still fast and tremolo-picked which has, and should always be, at the core of their sound. The riffs are catchy as well as varied and make it easy to discern track from track. The instrumental breaks between a few songs also help, and add a nice break from the sonic onslaught. The solos are one of the highlights of 'Aeons Black', with many being flat-out awesome. They are fast and creative, and provide a satisfying climax to the songs they are implemented into. Nilsson deserves some credit.
Regardless of Wiksten`s intentions, his drumming turned out to be simply effective. I am stressing simply a little bit because this is not the tightest or most varied drumming you will ever hear, but for me it was almost what I was looking for. I was hoping for something more organic than the drumming on 'Path of Fire'(though Fjellstrom is more talented) which sounded very plastic and more done up than one of those belts you see a boxing champion hold up after a victory. I wanted drumming more like 'Rise to Dominate' which helped emphasize the guitar work. This is where it proved effective.
The bass is relatively quiet and follows the guitars. There is nothing notable. Dahlstrom`s vocals however, are a combination of power punches to the body and head. His vocals are characterized by discernible low growls and very nice, almost screech-like highs. He sounds like Benton, except with greater range. The lyrical content is centered around anti-Christianity and though not very thought provoking, they are catchy and easy to growl along to. The catchiness of the songwriting has been a staple in Aeon`s music. It is one thing that helps separate Aeon from other bands who attempt the same thing.
Within the context of 2012, this album is at or near the top of death metal releases. And though I have referenced Deicide because the influence is clear, this band is not a clone, but a band who makes solid material which stands on its own. I hope this is an indicator of things to come.
Catchy, brutal, and precise. Maybe too much precision. Is that a problem? Well it depends, if it’s your main concentration, sacrificing technique and distinctiveness then yes I’m afraid so. I’m only referring to one individual, the rest were interesting and wrote creative structures to accompany an evil album. Eeny Meeny Miny Moe, digging its grave it’s the drummer that has become known. That was cheesy but he followed suit. The ironic thing is Arttu Malkki is the original drummer of Aeon however this is the first full-length with him on it. Why did Nils Fjellstrom have to leave? Or at least Aeon could’ve gone with someone else. Whatever the case, things happened as they did. Fjellstrom is in other projects right now (Dark Funeral, etc.) so he’s not without a band. Arttu Malkki had the perfect studio sound but as far as having his own style, he fell short. I mean it could have been his style but it was dull and unoriginal. Drumming sounded like a second-rate Paul Mazurkiewicz. I’m not even a fan of Mazurkiewicz’s modern drumming style I also think it’s dull and uninspiring. If you enjoy Paul’s drumming in records such as “Evisceration Plague” and “Torture” by all means disregard by opinion. I personally don’t like it.
If you are still here and reading let’s not forget it’s not a complete failure. Drumming for me was uninhabitable but shifting to a depressive to a more enlightened mood let’s talk a little about the good things. This album to me felt like a movie with all the instrumentals. I honestly wish there was a few more. One of the instrumentals, “The Voice of the Accuser” completely caught me off guard. It’s almost like hearing Morbid Angel’s “Blessed Are The Sick” for the very first time and as you’re listening you run into the track, “Desolate Ways”. There you come to the realization that death metal is much more than the typical stereotypes associated with the genre. Still though when I read the title of the song, “The Voice of the Accuser”, I did not expect the simple beauty I heard. The accuser I’d expect would have a vile and grotesque personality. A voice can mislead one’s judgment. Even though you wouldn’t in the least expect it, the one who appears innocent and gentle can have a foul persona in the depths of their soul and vice-versa. This song shows that parallel universe living within some people and misconstrued perceptions.
The vocals were interesting, the layered or backing vocals giving you the illusion of someone desperately burning in the realm of hell. It reminded me of Deicide and Nile. The guitar work was promising, it’s catchy and enjoyable. Fans of Hate Eternal, Cannibal Corpse, and “Domination” era Morbid Angel should give this album a shot. I was quite satisfied with the solos, how refreshing the tone was and the creative paths they took. This was a damned piece of work but the solos weren’t a random arrangement of brutal incoherence. They took the time to build and construct them in a display of sheer brutality but at the same time painting a grand landscape, putting the corpses only where they needed to be and being elegant songwriters.
“Aeons Black” could’ve easily been a dignified piece of work but in regards to the drummer, overall it sounded like a watered-down Cannibal Corpse/Hate Eternal album. Every musician counts, you can’t hide or play it safe. A band can get annoying if four members are working their backs off only to be slugged by one mediocre musician. Regardless this had so much potential. Better luck next time.
Originally written for http://www.metal-temple.com/
Aeon, a technical death metal band from Sweden, has released their newest album titled "Aeon's Black." Aeon fans everywhere have screamed out in pure ecstasy that this album will be the "next big thing", stating that it will be an excellent follow-up to their previous installment known as "Path of Fire." The question is: is it really? "Fire" is a structured album with a lot to give. Aeon is definitely not a band I would listen to any time soon, however I must stress that "Fire" was actually a good album and far better than any of the other albums such as "Rise to Dominate" or "Bleeding the False", which have been flawed beyond repair. To say that this new installment, that the band has to offer, is the "follow-up" is already making such a claim, can it compete? As I listen to this, all I can hear is the same stuff that Aeon has played the whole time they have been together: bashing Christ and Christian disciples, priests raping children and much more. This is nothing new, despite being the newest album that Aeon has brought to the table this year.
The 15 track album contains songs that are so predictable it hurts. The opening track titled "Still they Pray" preaches the same old bullshit from Tommy Dahlstrom and company: religion is shit and priests are a bunch of faggots. Hmm, I wonder where I heard this before (in all of their albums!!)? This carries on for each and every track, there's nothing wrong with taking a fat shit on religion at all, it's just that Aeon has done things like this forever and it's REALLY getting old. Now for some change, Dahlstrom's vocals have hit a lower pitch, which doesn't sound all that bad, but so have the guitars. The guitars are absolute garbage in the sense that they are so distorted to the point where you can't even distinguish what's being played. The solos may be melodic but that's not enough, it has a sort of a trashy death metal feel and sounds nothing like any structured album I've ever heard of.
I can talk for hours about how much Arttu Malkki sucks at drums but I'm just going to cut it short. First off, there's a reason why they got rid of him in 2002 (three years before releasing "Bleeding The False"), it's because he's just very slow and can't keep up with the band, furthermore he's just mindlessly hitting the drums in a primitive manner, there's no skill being displayed. To stress this further, Aeon should never have gotten rid of Nils Fjellstrom (now drummer for Dark Funeral, a notorious Swedish black metal band) because he was amazingly skilled, faster than Arttu and he practically carried the band through the first three albums. To get rid of a young and perfect drummer and replace him with an older and unskilled caveman is probably the stupidest move Aeon has possibly made. Speaking of which, the lyrics. There's no creativity or diversity and when Dahlstrom spits them out they just get a whole lot worse. He sings them in such a way as if they came out of some stereotypical musical film but with death growls added into it. What the fuck is this? A death metal version of the Doodlebops? There are also some instrumental tracks which are short and definitely are not needed, there's no point to them at all. It's basically 20 seconds wasted and furthermore they sound atrocious due to the imperfections of the guitars, bass and drums. Especially the drums.
To end this off, Aeon really failed to create a "follow-up" and didn't meet the expectations to get there. Everything seems unoriginal, there's nothing new at all, everything has been heard before and anything that has changed instrumentally is just wrong, distorted and extremely hard to listen to. I have to give this album some points for effort but no more than that. My advice would be to not buy this and, instead, invest in better music and a better band because this does not make the cut and should just be dropped immediately. I don't know why Metal Blade chose to sign these guys in the first place because, as far as I see it, this band just doesn't have what it takes to make it big due to lack of everything.
Aeon is a five-piece Swedish death metal band, and Aeons Black is their fourth full-length effort. I haven’t listened to much of the band’s back catalogue – something I might want to reconsider now that I’ve experienced the sonic onslaught that is the band’s latest release – but what I had heard prior to Aeons Black in no way prepared me for this. The record is hateful, vicious, and brutal; it lashes out at the listener, both instrumentally and vocally. The band does a great job of engulfing your eardrums with the fiery fury of Hell, but not through sheer brutality. Aeon’s got a talent, a knack for providing interesting songwriting that compliments a powerful sound. Instead of falling prey to the pitfall of relying on force to deliver their album, the band gives us an album filled with top-notch musicianship.
The vocals on Aeons Black are some of the best I’ve heard all year. The powerful low growls are great on their own, but when the shredding high screams are mixed in, things get even better. The vocals certainly waste no time at all in blasting you back against the wall, and pummeling the ever-loving shit out of you; indeed, Tommy’s vocals are a vicious mixture of Amon Amarth screams and The Project Hate MCMXCIX lows. His growls alone bear a frightening and commanding presence – they easily steal the show, and just when you thought the aural slaughter was over, the drums pick up right where Tommy left off.
The drum tracks are, for the most part, tastefully brutal (assuming that isn’t a contradiction); Arttu’s skill set revolves around beating the fuck out of his drum set, which is fine in my book – as long as it’s done right. Aeons Black is more proof of what I’ve been saying all along: you can beat the fuck out of shit and be productive, as long as you beat the fuck out of it the right way. Aeon, or more specifically, Arttu, definitely did it the right way. Plenty of blast beats, snare hits, and double bass kicks will provide the audible backdrop with which the rest of the band murders you, and it’s just fucking glorious. The production of the album benefits the drums exquisitely, as each flick of Arttu’s wrist is punctuated by an intense and deserved bam. That’s right. BAM.
The guitar fills are a bit more nonchalant, a bit less varied, than the rest of the band’s sound. While the bass props up the guitar’s sound, the bass itself doesn’t exactly stand out or make itself known. It’s best described as the unsung worker of a big ol’ Broadway production. Or a roadie. Nobody gives a fuck about him, even though he does a big service to the band. Yeah, I just called a band member a roadie. Oh well. The good thing about the guitars is that, though the variety is disappointing, the solos are fantastic – again making me draw comparisons to The Project Hate. It shows that the band has talent when it comes to forming songs, but more than a few songs feel like they were built around chugging. Though some passages may be technically proficient and melodically pleasing, some of the needless blandness of the record is entirely due to the guitars.
The last bit I really have to talk about is the short instrumental tracks that appear thrice on Aeons Black. They serve as more than filler – instead of being there for the hell of it (no pun intended, har har), the songs allow the listeners to take a much-needed break from being slaughtered and revived by the Swedish death heads. That’s not to say that they take away from the sheer power of this record – they don’t. Aeons Black is a very brutal, very vicious, and very powerful release that should be recognised as such – it’s just nice to hear something more than boring brutality. In short, if you look forward to scaring your Christian neighbours, buy this record – and blast it.
2. “The Glowing Hate”
4. “I Wish You Death”
7. “Nothing Left to Destroy”
10. “Dead Means Dead”
15. “Die By My Hands”