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Aeternus' debut album saw the light (or probably the dark) back in 1997. Aeternus had been on my want-list for years and at last I got this at the end of 2002. This is the diary of the process that I went through with 'Beyond the Wandering Moon'.
The CD arrived and I inserted it into my CD player as fast as possible: This is what I'd been waiting for so long... Well, the cover looks okay, but the booklet is kind of boring. But hey, it is the music that matters! Eerie piano intro 'Under the Blade of the Dead' began to play and I simply forwarded to the next song. 'Sworn Revenge' surprised with its fast tempo. Oh, another black metal album from Norway, then... But the song has a lot of parts and different musical stuff. Surprisingly heavy album, but still individual sound. And those Celtic melodies! Wow!!! I continued listening to the album and doing something with my computer at the same time. The music flowed on, but it had become numbing, boring actually. And during 'Embraced' I started to forward the songs. "Oh, not so good album" was my initial opinion.
Next time: I had already put the album on my trade-list. I grabbed it one night as I started to read a book. I thought it would go nicely on the background. It did, for some time. Again it started to sound very boring. Then I thought I'm going to write this review.
Time: Now. What I have learned, once again, is that some music needs total concentration so it can linger and pollute a listener's mind. What I have found in 'Beyond the Wandering Moon' is nothing beautiful, but very dark and brutal atmospheres. Doomy heaviness, blackish touches, death metal brutality, ancient warrior spirit, folky melodies and melancholic piano work. A band that comes to my mind is Primordial (also on Hammerheart Records), but Aeternus are still individual because of their Norwegian roots. The songs are long and sometimes nothing seems to happen in the form of changes. So, partly almost transcendental, partly warlike. One just needs to let the music in, at least this worked with me. Still, it is not possible to get into the album all the time, it needs a right state of mind.
As stated, the sound is partly blackish, but it is so much heavier than usual Norwegian black metal giants usually are (or were). Some of the elements are a bit buried in the mix, but all this makes the album sound original (kind of dirty, but epic) and one can find new things after many listenings. Look at the cover and listen to the music and there is a connection, as is with the music and lyrics. The sound effects heighten the atmospheres. Who doesn't love ravens' song?!
Aeternus' debut album is full of epic and original dark metal. And that's a lot said, I think, especially in these times of clones.
(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2003)