without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Apart from the black metal scene, Quebecers are also known for adding strong, wise, and innovative death metal to the overall lot. Cryptopsy, Gorguts, Martyr and many others have developed their own sound, their own trademark over the decades. Aeternam sprouted from Montreal and is yet another upcoming work of brilliance. The band was formed in 2007 by young students--musicians who met at university. Between studying and recording sessions, it took them around three years to write their first effort, Disciples of the Unseen, which was released on Metal Blade records. Being on a big label requires many compromises. Aeternam do not have the time to play tons of shows or go on tours like they could back in the day--this was mentioned by the vocalist in an interview. Finally, the band ends up releasing their second album on Galy Records, which is a fantastic idea to me because Moongod is just as good as its predecessor. It has better song writing, and that means that the band gained more maturity while providing support to a local scene and label. Awesome!
I said innovative. Yea, you read that right. Why? The lyrics! They are the first thing that piqued my curiosity. Aeternam's lyrical subjects spans stories about ancient civilizations to Arabic religion and mythological wars/battles--particulary towards the ancient Egyptian dynasty. On Disciples of the Unseen, the song Goddess of Masr praises the reign of Akhenaten and his great royal wife, Nefertiti. The subject matter of Moongod is very similar; it is exactly more of the same. I personally think it is innovative and quite refreshing from the usual death metal tropes of: gore, horror, blasphemy, insanity, darkness, violence etc. I love cranking Cannibal Corpse, I fucking do--don't get me wrong. But why not take a break and learn about something else with Aeternam? The best thing about this band it the amount of time they put into their lyrics; it makes them outstanding for increasing your knowledge on these esoteric topics.
In regard to the production, nothing has changed since the last full length. It is clean and very polished. This makes for an effective listen where all instruments are well balanced. For example, the layered vocals, while quite substantial in the mix, are never too loud or overpowering; they just are perfectly audible and serve to enhance the overall "epicness" of the album. I personally don't mind the programmed vocals in the choruses, as they help to accent the middle-eastern vibe.
Now, In terms of song writing and skills, Aeternam are untouchable. I appreciate their main formula, which consists of: catchy, mostly midpaced hooks, and melodic riffs--making great use of classic tremolo (many pinch harmonics) death metal riffs. The drumming alternates between brutal blasting and more moderate drumming-- you're not going to find a 240 bpm Gene Hoglan maniac on here. The band has written some really fast and brutal parts that manage to create some very intense moments. These are perfectly juxtaposed with some very progressive mid-breaks, where the tempo transitions and their liberal use of the keyboard in the background helps to completely change the mood from the faster, more brutal sections. We've also got some worthy solos. I counted three and my favorite one is on the self-titled track. There is no tapping, no sweep picking, and you can hear every single note he picks--even when it's extremely fast. The solos are simply impeccable and are a great add on to the oriental mood present in the songs.
This is fucking epic. I recall saying this once and I'll say this again: EPIC. A suitable demonstration of this term is to be found on the ending, Hubal, Profaner of Light. A killer song on all fronts and it's probably the best song on the album. It's just a great way to summarize the whole atmosphere on here: pan flutes, clean guitars, fucking riffs, fucking blastbeats, and an angry Nergal-like vocalist who has crushingly powerful vocal chords! The song, Iram of the Pillar, is another fine piece of work crafted by the genius of their front-man, who has a large influence on the band. It is an interesting three minute interlude that mixes all types of instruments and demonstrate the real sound of the band--what Aeternam is all about.
Overall, Aeternam's Moongood is an experience that is stimulating. They really bring something new to the genre--which is an exceptional complement given the current state of Death Metal and, indeed, metal in general. They have had their own folk-infused sound since their first album, and this is following the same great folk trend. I hope the band sticks to their formula because it's what makes them unique, and I expect many great things to come. Clean production, amazing lyrics--that, quite frankly, give your brain a workout--memorable song writing, top notch musical execution for this style of death metal (this ain't technical and it doesn't need to be) are all the characteristics that coalesce into the great experience that is Moongod. I can't think of any comparisons for this band--except maybe some influence from Melechesh and Orphaned Land. Aeternam doesn't sound like any other band you've heard before. This is precisely why you should get your ears on this. A boatload of fun and headbanging is guaranteed!