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Aeternus are a black metal band from Norway that eventually crossed over to death metal later in the 2000's. Having formed themselves in 1993, Dark Sorcery is the first EP and real release for the band having only released a demo tape prior. The group have been highly revered among black metal audiences, namely for their debut full-length album Beyond the Wandering Moon and it's follow up ...And So the Night Became. But what preceded those albums that have been long adored? What untold story does Dark Sorcery have to offer?
"Human dreams, such a fruitful place to plant the seeds of terror!"
The above line is the creepy first sentence of the opening track, "Black Dust", which is a little over seven and a half minutes of spine tingling terror at its finest. The track is led in by thunder, howls, wind and a tolling bell that quickly set the ghastly atmosphere for the rest of the album. Dark Sorcery is done founding members Ares the vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist and Vrolok who is the drummer. "Black Dust" is one of the stronger songs on this EP and can inflict goosebumps on the listener with ease. Sounding like the grim reaper himself, Ares' vocals carry on melodiously with a deep, demonic tone that goes hand in hand with the demented lyrics.
"Black flames will rise - as the gate
Opens - into the realm - of the dead
Here - you will sleep - eternally
And in your never ending dream
I will dance - and laugh"
"Raven and Blood" is another gripping track that will make one feel the icy cold breath of death along their neck as the attention holding story of Ares folds out among eerie synthesized organs, frantic guitars and pummeling drum beats. Throughout the material there is a good mix up of chord and tremolo riffs, and the guitars tend to stay on the heavier chords which makes up for the lack of bass in the material. The final track "Nordlys" is a completely acoustic instrumental piece of nordic-folk inspiration, this combined with the small acoustic guitar fragments buried under the tracks asks the question as to why Aeternam were never seen as a black folk metal band. The song itself is very compelling and is backed by a single, steady bass drum.
The production quality here is low enough to give Dark Sorcery that sinister old cult feel but still decent enough that the guitars can be heard clearly despite their distorted tone and the audio fuzz that the production gives off. The drums are also clear and uncompressed alongside the vocals, which remain the highlight on this album. The overall sensation given from the moment this album starts until it ends is the reason why any metal fan should give this EP a listen. Very dark in atmosphere, good in quality and unrelenting in narrative, Dark Sorcery is one of the must hear Aeternus releases.
- Villi Thorne