November 20th, 2012
Release length: 50:52
One thing is for certain: Aeons Black is heavy. The deeper audio quality mixes quite well with the sleaker modern digital clarity of the instruments. The guitars carry a very blunt and lower tuned distortion that is very rich, especially when accompanied by the pounding bass guitar, meshing together perfectly to create a brutal Death Metal output. The drums sound fantastic as well. The bass kicks stick out just enough to make an impact with the click they have, but not drown out the rest of the kit. The cymbals are about the same volume but with a crisp touch to them, and the snares manage to thunder through the mix, sticking to a tighter mid-range. Of course, the vocals are your understandable guttural approach with a great deal of enthusiasm here and there to match the often brutal and energetic music.
While the audio here is simply fantastic, there is a pretty obvious flaw to the material, which is the early Corpsegrinder-era Cannibal Corpse influence that often comes through vividly. There are many bridges and passages throughout that harken back to the days of Vile, such as “Still They Pray.” This isn’t really a bad thing though, as the band does it quite well. After the muffled guitars that give way to the thunderous main riffs, you’ll start to pick up on some of the less unique material. The somewhat blasting drums and faster chords hammer away at the listener, though it’s the largely groove-driven bridges and passages that stand out, especially a little past the two-minute mark where the drums really enforce the similarities. While this sort of influence is still obvious in the next track, “The Glowing Hate,” its slower pace and overall crushing audio and riffs makes it impossible to not love, as well as resist headbanging yourself into a serious case of whiplash over. The dark and ominous tone of the music is simply stunning and a fantastic summary of the power that the Death Metal genre carries, enhanced by the highly energetic performance from every member of the band that simply makes it an addictingly punishing cut.
“I Wish You Death” is another solid offering, though far less impressive. It isn’t a Cannibal Corpse clone, but there are some higher pitched leads that can throw back to that early time of Death Metal. There’s nothing too spectacular about it, but the inclusion of a more original approach is a welcome one. The slower pace works to create a rather crushing experience, but in the end it’s a bit underwhelming. This is largely what comes your way for a while. The material is often enjoyable, but nothing too fantastic until “Sacrified.” The energy returns once more, and the faster pace works great with the more technical riffs that have the power to start a mosh pit anytime, anywhere.
There are some shorter instrumentals that crop up throughout the album. “The Voice of the Accuser” is a piano-dominant piece at a much slower pace, using keyboards to act as if part of a film’s score. A similar summary can be used for “Aftermath,” which isn’t that strong either, though establishes a bit of a grim tone as a bridge into “Blessed by the Priest.” “Neptune the Mystic,” does the same thing in that cinematic respect as well. It isn’t quite as fast or hard-hitting as many other songs, having more of a laid back quality that still builds some tension, as if the forewarning score to a Horror film before a big, sinister plot point is revealed. The chugging riffs are met with some catchy leads that are a bit creepy, and for a little more than a minute, it’s a nice additional touch, though not too effective as an introduction to “Nothing Left to Destroy.” There’s also “Passage to Hell,” which is largely just ambience and effects that sound like demonic groaning at times. While the cinematic touch works out quite well, it doesn’t end up as engaging or as over-the-top as intended.
Some of the best tracks that Aeons Black has to offer have already been unleashed onto the Metal population. While the album isn’t bad, it’s obvious there’s a good deal of Cannibal Corpse worship going on, but given how well it’s executed, you won’t really want to hold it against the band. There’s plenty of memorable, catchy tracks, and also a number of songs that are just good, offering much less to the listener. You can even feel it in the bands performances, as if they aren’t too thrilled to be recording certain compositions either, but trying to make sure the songs don’t sound like filler, a task they just manage to achieve in some cases. For fifteen tracks that span a good fifty minutes, aside the much shorter tracks that crop up, there’s nothing here that’s all that bad, and you’ll definitely find yourself coming back to Aeons Black plenty of times past that initial spin. But, it won’t take too long before you start hitting the skip forward button to get to the real engaging cuts this album has to offer, as well as bypassing the many interlude instrumentals that don’t offer much other than filling about a minute each time one hits.
01. Still They Pray – 3:51
02. The Glowing Hate – 4:12
03. The Void of the Accuser – 0:51
04. I Wish You Death – 4:55
05. Garden of Sin – 3:50
06. Neptune the Mystic – 1:12
07. Nothing Left to Destroy – 5:25
08. Passage to Hell – 1:05
09. Aeons Black – 3:42
10. Dead Means Dead – 4:04
11. Sacrificed – 3:23
12. Aftermath – 1:21
13. Blessed by the Priest – 3:59
14. Maze of the Damned – 3:39
15. Die by my Hands – 5:23
|Overall Score: 7.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records via Earsplit PR.