I wish people were more like this – say and do what they feel. Norwegians Aeternus don’t beat around the bush. Rather they get into it right away, almost from the first seconds of the opener Sword of the Earth. By the end of the song you just know – this record is going to pummel.
Aeternus play a breed of death metal that they themselves call “dark metal”. Don’t be misled by this label. This music is not anything gothic, electronic driven or atmospheric. The fans of Samael, Alastis or even Therion need not apply. However, if Morbid Angel or Behemoth is your cup of tea you will enjoy A Darker Monument.
With Aeternus there is no high-end. They combine low tone rumbling guitar riffs (very similar to Morbid Angel), dark undercurrent melodies, thunderous “war” drums and Ares’ singing which is most of the time guttural and menacing. If you grasped this description and feel that this would appeal to you, go ahead and buy the record, as a major part of it is just that. Sword of the Earth, Litany of Ra and Sons of War will pound you into submission.
However, there is enough variety on the album for it not to be monotonous. Slavestate presents a more grinding variety death metal with incredibly audible bass lines. Midway through the song a very chaotic solo pierces through the fabric and proceeds right over the top of brooding riffs. Ares sings as if he is a pagan god pissed off at his faithful (isn’t his name a Greek for God of War?). Litany of Ra ends on a creepy piano interlude and fades into oblivion. Soulslayer is dark and bombastic, probably the most melodic song on the album. The middle thrash insert is pure At The Gates worship. Darkstorm will make you headbang endlessly and is a meatier version of the latest Unleashed. Genocide Delight churns slowly with its Black Sabbath roots and doomy nature. Sons of War switches effortlessly from blast beat of Morbid Angel to Vintersorg Norse melodies.
I generally liked the record, but a few vocal choices by Ares (vocal effects on Darkstorm, for example) did not appeal to me as much. Also, this otherwise excellent song ends on a half-note, basically in limbo. The first five tracks are also much stronger and more intense than the last four.
Even though Aeternus claim that they play their own unique style, they did not shatter my world with their originality. All you have to do is check out Behemoth’s Zos Kia Cultus and Kaamos self-titled debut to see that Aeternus is not the only fish in the pond. This, however, does not detract at all at the enjoyable album, strong musicianship, professional presentation and unbelievably powerful production. These guys are veterans who know how to deliver the goods. After all this is the band’s sixth full-length.
One mistake I want to caution you against. Consider listening to A Darker Monument loud, full volume. This music is not for headphones. Only when you crank it up all the way you will fully appreciate Erik, a monstrous drum crusher. I recently saw Manowar’s DVD and thought Scott Columbus pounds his drum kit into dust. Wait till you hear Erik, he will make Scott Columbus blush! Aeternus must be an awesome live show. Too bad I am not going to Norway any time soon.
Killing Songs :
Sword of the Earth, Slavestate, Soulslayer, Darkstorm
|Alex quoted 78 / 100|
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