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As if a great folk/black beginning was not enough, then black/death, Aeternus apparently changed styles to better fit their lyrics to the likes of pure death metal.
Still, the lyrics really are not that good at all, as they all eminate a false feeling of the typical trends of modern death metal by trying to be dark and mysterious. They are not.
The music, on the other hand, compensates just a bit for the terrible lyrics, but it seems Aeternus's sound has taken a turn for the worse. Every song is monotonous and boring in their own right, for the music has no life and merely drones on and on from the commencement of a song to the end of one. At the same time, one cannot help but notice there seems to be some Cannibal Corpse influence now, which does bring excitement sometimes to a few songs' passages, while most of the time it just simply does not work.
No longer apparent for the most part are the brutally fast and murderous drums as heard on Ascension of Terror. Creativity from the drummer as well has been lost, as he really does not offer anything innovative on this album.
The bass? Well, it's basically inaudible.
The riffs themselves are mundane and exhausted. It almost seems like the guitarists just were not feeling up to par to execute the true sound of death metal, so they threw in a few catchy, yet uninspired riffs and abused them to play a practical joke on the listener so they can skip the track. Luckily, there are a few pretty good guitar solos on A Darker Monument, but even they are weak in their structure and showcase nothing new.
Finally, there is something worthy enough to be considered true to the grand, original sounds of this band; the vocals are performed rather well in the tone of normal death vocals, and give color to the album which so badly needed it. Still, even the vocalist has his bad moments when he tries to sound dark and mysterious by giving off really WEIRD-sounding vocals that were at all not needed on this album. It only adds more to the overall weak sound to A Darker Monument.
This album could have been a favorite among death metallers, but instead, Aeternus chose to be lazy and not conceptualize what they were doing in the process of making this album. Everything on here has already been done a long time ago by countless other bands. Sure the album has its strong areas, but there are hardly any. Unfortunately, everything about this album is bland and not creative at all.