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Eccentric Black Metal - 95%

serafimsott, November 20th, 2013

An album with this cover that begins with a sax melody has many ballots to surprise...and it does. But it's not going to eccentricities or elitist avant-garde, and although the fore-mentioned intro binds it to the first issue, everything remains in a pure anecdote. What we find then is a music aggressive, extremely intense and varied, and that's where the surprises come from.

In fact the variety is such that it is not easy to place them in a particular genre. At first it looks like Post-Black, but neither the voice nor the rhythms always fit in that classification, except on track like “Kraanerg”, nor are there the languid melodic reveries frequent in other parts. And do not think anyone has made a mosaic from heterogeneous parts of different genres, at all, diversity does not take away even a thousandth part of cohesion to the disc and the set is a monolith, music in one piece and perfectly consistent.

The album has some formidable guitar arrangements and meticulously work off when the topics, interweaving riffs, phrases, arpeggios and solo sections lead to some amazing textures. It is also executed with a true sense of the dynamics and contrasts, which further underscores the intensity of aggressive passages. The voice however, is far from the spirit and is too monotonous, both the timbre and the way of singing (with honorable exceptions like “Carnivora's Lair”) and even their rhythmic patterns.

Also would have been nice to have somewhere more catchy, such as “Grand narcotic harvest” or “Necroscope” or fragments that give moments special ephasis on each topic and make them recognizable. Fifty-three minutes of music input is good news and in this case a sign of creativity, but its own density, except that only two songs last five minutes – threatening at times to choke, another reason to have given moments to songs to breathe and at the same time guide the music in a certain direction.

In any case, the band demonstrates talent, ambition, love for work well done and an admirable maturity on their first full album, but have been active since 2005. By the way, the saxophone reappears in the long “Black Nerve” with a brief but interesting way, confirming that the presentation at the beginning of the disc was not anecdotal or, at best, a strategy to capture the listener's attention. The album signs off with a correct version of a song from the David Lynch film “Eraserhead”, adapted to the style of the group itself and with reminiscences of PECCATUM.

Endless, Chaotic & Multilayered - 90%

dase1943, November 6th, 2013

After 2 successful EP releases and after several years, Aenaon's first full length album comes to blow like a bomb into the greek metal scene and prove that the waiting period was not in vain. 10 tracks with a total duration of 53 minutes and the band strikes from the first few seconds of the intro "Kafkasque".

Even though the saxophone at the beginning made me think of Ihsahn, that thought quickly faded away and was replaced by admiration for a true masterpiece. It makes no sense to talk about influences as all artists have their influences but Aenaon managed to find their own path in music and follow their instincts, creating something that I personally didn't ever except to hear from a greek black metal band.

The melodies are endless, special and enjoyable. The complexity of the orchestrations is creating such special atmosphere that manages to keep your attention until the end. Many rich guitar riffs, nice and meaningful solos, dark atmospheres and vocals of all styles.

Aenaon isn't your typical black metal band and it's definitely unlike anything you've listened to so far. They belong to the wider genre of avant garde experimental black metal, but their compositions are so psycho, so technical and with so many jazz references you just listen to it with your mouth gaping wide open. Truth be told, however, this isn't the kind of music that can be easily digested by many people, it requires openmindedness, because the songs on "Cendres et Sang" are so chaotic and multilayered...

They combine stunningly old school and epic black metal with modern elements and more importantly… as you listen to the album you'll start wondering "how much better can be done?" Magically Aenaon prove that they can do even better! This is how after a lot of days you come to realize that you have already listened to this album over and over again. Without exaggeration "Cendres et Sang" is one of the best greek black metal releases. Buy it. Simple.

AENAON: "Cendres Et Sang" - 70%

skaven, January 11th, 2013

Aenaon is another rather new addition to code666's roster of avant-garde black metal, and another successful one. Cendres et Sang does not appeal to those solely into anti-modernist, low fidelity cellar black metal, but those who rejoice in compromising and uncommon elements in their black metal (or the other way around: a little bit of black metal in their what ever weirdness you could call this.

To depict the album more specifically, you may still except a fair deal of blast beats, tremolo guitar and harsh screams. Heck, the main riff of ”Psychonautic Odyssey” is a pretty old school, Celtic Frost like one. But the introductory ”Kafkaesque” already reveals that there's more to Aenaon's music than the basic extreme metal instrumention and execution: there's plenty of saxophone around this album which creates a really jazzy feeling at places, plus a myriad of other manipulated sound effects in every corner of the 53-minute whole. The result is, while not always intriguing and extraordinary, an interesting journey through surprising compositions.

The musicianship is no short of quality either, the main compliment going to the drummer's seat. He is a monster here, knowing how to play dynamically: when to go into warm jazzy grooves and when to include the power and roughness of blast beats. No complaints to any other section of the lineup either, it all seems to work well in spite of the fact that this is their debut.

In the end, Cendres et Sang leaves a positive taste. Even in the realm of experimental black metal, I don't think the album is really revolutionary as there's a already a heap of groups doing quite similar music, but I still think the album is a worthy effort. It is easy to hear the sweat and pain that has went into the creation of this many-faced, richly textured piece. Cendres et Sang won't open to its full glory right in the beginning as the challenging and confusing compositions do require more time. I still haven't given the album enough spins I think, but at each go it seems to get a tad better.

3.5 / 5
[ http://www.vehementconjuration.com/ ]

Hamstrung by its eclectic overtures - 58%

autothrall, September 30th, 2011

Cendres et Sang is an album that baits you with its initial esoteric nature and then peters out into something all too bland and typical of its genre. The "Kafkaeque" is this great, jazzy horn intro morphing straight into the added acoustics, rumbling bass and percussion of the ensuing "Suncord", but then suddenly the band becomes a mix of melodic black and death metal with some clean and rasped vocals but really not all that much by way of the hinted experimentation. They do specialize in a pretty wide array of dynamics when choosing their tempos, but the overbearing drawl of the vocalist and the chunky thrashing discord beneath several of the compositions left me with the impression of a sort of melodic black/metalcore band...

...and then, just like that, a jazzy jamming calm arrives at the bridge to this song, and erupts into the best part of the track, a wall of chords with a more despotic, cutting vocal passage which combine for some desperately needed grandeur. It's about here that I got the impression that Aenaon's full-length debut was going to be a frustrating one, a landscape of peaks and valleys. And it turns out this is the case. Cendres et Sang is all over the place, often progressive and pedantic, and often ceding into uninteresting metallic rhythms that betray all of its potential. "Psychonautic Odyssey", for example, is a mix of potent punchy thrash and nice leads, but I really didn't care for the vocals. "Grand Narcotic Harvest" and "Once Finite" are robust, double bass driven mid-paced melodic black metal pieces with a few, brighter moments of deviation, and this aesthetic continues deeper on into the track list with "Necroscope", "Kraanerg", etc.

Don't mistake that I somehow hated this, because what Aenaon are doing does maintain some of the intrigue that you'd expect from a progressive black metal act. "Black Nerve" has some cool, bristling spikes of melody and acoustic calms amongst its bloated, 8+ minute bulk. "In Heaven" transforms from tranquil piano to a blaze of black aggression. But then I go and listen back to the intro to the whole album, and I wonder just how amazing it might have been for such a jazzy thread to persist throughout. It really doesn't, and Cendres et Sang feels like an experiment that was afraid of becoming too experimental, a net cast wide at the start of the fishing trip and then quickly retracted for fear of drawing in sharks. Clearly it's in this band's blood to try something wacky, so I say: go and do it. Don't hold back. Because for its straighter melodic black metal element, this album is really not so special.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Mediterranean Face Melting Metal - 75%

TheAntagonist, September 4th, 2011

For a long time I lived and died by the staple of the Greek black metal scene, Rotting Christ; never really exploring bands from the Mediterranean as much as I would have liked. Since I am always on the hunt for anything new in the metal scene it was very fortuitous that I happened upon Aenaon’s latest offering Cendres Et Sang. What Aenaon attempt to do is blend two diametrically opposed genres of music: jazz and black metal. Just the mentioning of this would leave one thinking that this combination just isn’t going to end well. Nevertheless, as the old and overused adage goes, looks can be deceiving.

Aenaon are quite an intriguing band to say the least. One band that comes to mind in terms of sound is Aborym and in all honesty, they hit just as hard as Aborym in shear intensity as well as melody. Most songs follow the same structure with heavy blast sections coupled with methodically placed jazz interludes. Now I know you may be thinking, “what the hell?” Surprisingly, it manages to work on some weird plane of existence where two polar opposite styles are transfused into an unholy union. The song “Suncord” is a perfect representation of what this band is all about, from it’s straight ahead black metal tendencies, moody jazz breaks and an operatic, over-the-top vocal delivery from Astrous that can be likened to the style employed by Nemtheanga from Primordial.

Let me take a moment here to make mention of the jazz side of things. While it is used somewhat sparingly it appears in the intro track “Kafkaesque” exclusively and then is interspersed throughout songs as break sections as I had previously mentioned. At some points the saxophone parts sound reminiscent to something that John Zorn and Mike Patton would do with their project Moonchild. There are a few instances where the jazz parts tend to detract from the overall integrity of the album, but I have been spinning this disc off and on for a week straight. The album itself seems to peak around the song “Necroscope” and never seems to get back it’s overall intensity. Not to say that the last two tracks aren’t good, but they sound more forced and flatter in comparison with the rest of the album. Also, look for a cover of “In Heaven” which was taken from the David Lynch movie Eraserhead. This choice appears as little more than a throw away track, but I guess they were looking to mix it up a bit.

All in all Aenaon pack a major punch and bring a lot to the table with Cendres Et Sang. While I don’t think the album is all that groundbreaking I definitely admire the effort that is put forth and feel that it is worth checking out. I think that if they stay the course in another 5 years or so they could be pretty huge. That is just my opinion, but so is everything that you just read.

Orginally written for Adequacy.net:
http://www.adequacy.net/2011/07/aenaon-cendres-et-sang/

Work of Art from the underground - 93%

TheDreamless, September 3rd, 2011

Here we have Aenaon's first full album, released on the 14th of June (2011) by Code666 records (house and incubator of bands such as EPHEL DUATH, ABORYM, NEGURA BUNGET, THE AXIS OF PERDITION among others). When listening Code666's name and seeing the artwork one can easily expect no less than a grandiose avant-garde/experimental journey. But is that so?

Cendres et Sang (French for Ashes and Blood - the band is from Greece though), begins with a mysterious noire jazz, saxophone only, composition which follows no set of predefined rules, no crescendi or riff-like melodies and is quickly accompanied by drums and accoustic guitars in the beginning of Suncord. From that very point Aenaon show their true self. Powerful well played and balanced "black" metal
trueful to the schools of Shining, Code and Dodheimsgard.

The first thing that strikes the listener is the clarity and rawness of the production. It is an easy exit for bands of the genre to use a "half-baked" fake vinyl-like production, for the sake of coolness (I too want my CDs to sound like granpa's gramophone) and coolness only, but Aenaon have picked a different and harder route.
Simply put the production is good and taking consideration that this is a new band we 're talking about, one could say great. All the instruments sit well in the mix with the guitars having the well-deserved dominant role. The drums sound great and since there is no drummer mentioned in the booklet I cannot understand if it is a human player or a drum machine. If it is a human, then congratulations to him for his great work, else, if it is the latter congratulations to the person who programmed them, since it would be one of the best drum machines used in metal. Ever.

The guitar solos are trully the highlight of this album's musicianship - never too long to end up being "Oh look how fast I play" nonsense, and straight to the point. Usually introducing new melodic material and leading the songs to their best momments. The vocals performance is not lacking either with Astrous' screaming like there is no tomorrow (similar to his performances on Aenaon - Phenomenon, and Disolvo Animus - Aleatoric Morte). There is some experimentation in the vocals sector with some passages resembling Attila's low grunts and well performed but scarce clean vocals that bring Primordial to mind, those are a great addition too.

Most of the tracks follow classic extreme metal patterns and are fast in tempo. The avant-gardness comes from momments where jazzy patterns emerge, in the rhythm guitars and saxophone, and also through the use of weird almost retro sound effects in keyboards and clean vocals juxtaposed against a powerful metal bane.

You will find no kitsch circus sounding melodies, no music box, nor grown up men immitating whispers of children here. The lyrics deal with issues such as paranoia, destruction and insanity (not very original themes) but compliment the music nicely. As noted, the band refuses to perch on "gimmicks" and tricks to promote themselves as wacky and original, no out of the blue tempo changes here or obscure instruments use. Instead it seems that they spent most of their time crafting wellthought and powerful songs that rely on... good riffs. Something that seems lacking these days, well thought catchy riffs.

The album seems to have no filler tracks, except for perhaps the last one "In Heaven" which is a cover of "Lady in the radiator" song from Mr Lynch's Eraserhead. While most people seem to highly praise the band for this cover - it seems that this song ultimately and unfortunately falls short when compared to the rest of the album. It's not a bad song, it's just the fact that it is the original played with full distortion and fast blastbeats. Perhaps even akin to silly versions of popular songs black-metalized. But as mentioned before the cool-factor dictates that this song is the best, only because it bears Lynch's name.

Standout tracks include, Psychonautic Odyssey, Necroscope and the epic and true album closer Black Nerve.

On viewing Aenaon's history - one would expect different. While the band consists of members of Varathron, Disolvo Animus and Nethescerial, Aenaon resembles none of these bands but instead branches out to be something entirely different, proficient in its category and place. If you are a fun of bands such as Shining, Code, DHG, Deathspell Omega - you should check out Aenaon immediately. And if you are a supporter of the underground scene, perhaps you have just found the best underground extreme metal album of 2011.