Aephanemer
A Dream of Wilderness

It warms my heart to see a band I have covered for two self-released albums now (2016s Memento Mori and 2019s Prokopton– which made my 2019 year-end list) have all the hard work pay off and get signed to a ‘big ‘ label, in this case, Napalm Records, and now deservedly rubbing shoulders with the likes of other excellent female-lead acts Unleash the Archer, Crypta, Nervosa and such.

The French band’s brand of classically inspired, synth-drenched, melodic death metal that culls heavily from Children Of Bodom, Kalmah, Skyfire and such has gotten better with each release, as well as less despondent, with Call Of the Wilderness mostly being an uplifting, triumphantly gregarious keyboard/choir-driven number that sees the band up the ante for melodies and sweeping harmonies. No tall order when you consider their last album was already pretty damn epic and melodic.

After the intro, “Land of Hope”,  the first real track “Antigone” kicks things off with a bang and immediately displays the band’s super confident, bigger, bolder, more melodic, and orchestral hues. It even has guitarist /vocalist  Marion Bascoul try her hand at some operatic clean vocals (she delved into some clean vocals on “Snowblind” from Prokopton) with great effect amid her witchy rasps. They also show up later on “Le Radeau de La Méduse”, another killer track, where they are used to good effect again.

And after “Antigone”, there isn’t a weak song or note for the rest of the album. Whether it’s the very Kalmah ish stomp of “Of Volition”, the airy bounce of aforementioned  “Le Radeau de La Méduse”, wondrously somber “Of Roots and Leaves”, the rousing patient trot of “Strider”, metallic lullaby “Panta Rhei” or the utterly brilliant title track with a dramatic orchestral bridge and transition to die for about 4 minutes in. “Old French Song” rounds things out with a short sharp instrumental cover of Tchaikovsky’s classic piano piece. It’s all pristinely delivered and produced with a mastering effort from Mikka Jussila (Amorphis, Children of Bodom, Battle Beast, and many, many more) and a mix from the legendary Dan Swano that literally glistens.

As a couple of bonuses, you get a French version of “Le Radeau de La Méduse” at the end of the album and a whole 2nd CD with 7 of the album’s songs delivered with no vocals. It is a pleasant listen you can play for your non-metal friends that complain about harsh vocals, as it really highlights the keyboard compositions. Buty also shows how good these guys got with all-important album number 3. I hope they keep it rolling with number 4.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 8th, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: Hammersmith

    The instrumental disc is also great for kids.


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