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Ever since Beyond The Wandering Moon, Aeternus has been a band that I have enjoyed alot. Both their earlier black metal material and more recent blackened death metal fare. Although I will admit that Ascention of Terror was not a complete let down, I felt that Aeternus could do much better. The two tracks that I heard off A Darker Monument were, to say the least, not really my thing. I thought that it was possible that once again a band I enjoyed was going the route of a sneezing Houdini in one of his submersian tricks.
And then, Hexaeon.
Ares has unleashed upon us nine tracks of dark, metallic, fury. The production is excellent. Every instrument screams with a need of acknowledgment. I want to mention the Vocals first because they are, in my opinion, the weakest aspect to this album. Its not that they arent good. Certain times they just sound like Steven Hawking singing through the blades of a bedroom oscillating fan. But its not really as awful as it sounds. Anyway...Guitars, provided by Ares, cut shrill paths throughout the albums depthless flesh and gut whatever is left over. Not technical, but pounding in every way. V'gander's bass is fantastic. No, hes not gonna be given any awards by the progressive rock fans but to these ears, he provides alot of the awesomeness of the album with a fantastic tone and low end. Erik's drumming is also of mention, of course. Alot of cool fills and great groove complete the music of this album. If Ares is the blasphemous knight, V'gander is his steed, trampling the allies of their enemies beneath his blood-soaked hooves.
To the songs: This is a brilliant collection of music. It might be the song's arrangement... but awesome. Opening tracks "The Darkest Of Minds" and "Godhead Charlatan" are crushing mid tempo songs. Third track "The 9th Revolution" is the weakest track in my opinion. From the 4th track onward though is gold - possibly gold removed the walls of the vatican by demons. "In The 3rd Dwells Oblivion" is a much faster track. The HUGE breakdown entering the final 40 seconds or so of the song is so utterly destructive in nature. Title track "Hexaeon" breaks the pace slightly with a clean guitar intro. The first usage of clean guitars until "Christbait." Track Six, "Punished" includes a bridge that erupts with innate violence. Ageless Void, and Christbait are both solid songs but closer "What I Crave" harkens back to the more black metal days of Aeternus with some enchanting clean vocals, grim melodies, and the albums finest moment... a emotion tinged solo pulling together the album.
I think that this album is nothing but a precursor of things (great things) to come. The black metal days of Aeternus, as glorious as they were are well in the past. This new Aeternus is not better or worse than the elder/younger vision of Aeternus. It is simply a different method of showing that vision.