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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”