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Ater Era > Clades > Reviews
Ater Era - Clades

Ater Era - Clades - 91%

Edmund Sackbauer, August 19th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, On Parole Productions

I do not own too many metal CDs from Slovenia so I am always happy to discover something new from our Southern neighbors. Ater Era are an outfit which has been formed in 2006, and so far the band managed to release three full length albums. Their most recent one from 2017 has been titled “Clades”, which means something like damage or plague. With a name like this it should not really come as surprise that this is not a record for the faint-hearted but for dark souls and fans of sinister stuff.

Things start off pretty relaxed and light-hearted, but soon enough opening track “March to Abysmal Void” turns into a hungry beast, going for the listener’s throat. The dynamic of the album can be addicting at its best, crushing and subtly melodic on one side and depressing and ecstatic on the other. The constant interaction between the driving and chugging main chords and the crazy lead guitar is often breathtaking. The melodies are often weird and haunting, but sometimes also have a more relaxed and slightly melancholic nature.

There are a lot of jarring, vicious sounding guitars, drenched in a raw and shrill tone, machine gun tight drums and some truly arid and fierce sounding vocals, all making all tracks sound oppressively harsh and aggressive. There’s some great, chaotic and cacophonous moments where the music takes a markedly more frenzied turn, providing yet more venom and viciousness to the already bleak picture. The machine gun drumming is at the front-end of the mix. The sound gives the album sometimes the feeling of a death metal output, but all in all the band mainly stays within the boundaries of black metal. Paired with some atmospheric harmonies this makes up for a nihilistic and bleak experience. This surely is not music for hot summer days.

The song-writing is polished, offering some nice surprises along the way, with the single parts always merged into fascinating tracks. Some of the songs are more lengthy than others, with all of them offering nice build-ups and interesting twists. Atmospheric sections are perfectly woven into the tracks, breaking up the ferocious tremolo runs and blast attacks. Each song is competently written, following clear patterns, but the band also does not shy away from thinking a little outside of the box. Small interludes, tempo changes and slightly uncommon harmonies are used to shake things up a bit and leave the trodden paths.

The production is spot on and in my books flawless. Perfectly crisp and punchy, with the guitars getting the much needed room to work their magic. Despite the clarity of the music there is enough grit left in the mix. The fiery vocals are also presented with enough power, rounding off an outstanding genre work. Fans of a little bit different kind of black metal offering a bit more than the usual 2-3 accords should definitely give “Clades” a spin.