Aeternus
Ascension of Terror

I quite enjoyed the trio’s blackened take on some dark, metal twinged with folky/Viking melodies on .. And So The Night Became. Then 1999’s Shadows of Old and 2000’s Burning the Shroud, seemed to wander of into more death metal swamped pastures, and while being enjoyably brutal, I missed the atmospheric flare, that gave them just enough of an edge to stand out from the pack.

 I am glad to report, that Aeternus’s latest effort sees them making a mild return to earlier days while still retain a earthy death metal approach that makes them neither black metal or death metal, but a nice compromise between the brutality of one, and the atmospherics of the other. Definitely breaking the mold of Norwegian black metal, Aeternus have a nice deep, earthy production that does lends to a more death metal feel, but the riffs are more “northern”, and the structures have a more epic pounding tone. I think “war-metal” would be a fitting term to describe a majority of the material churned out. While I can safely say none of the songs are instant classics that blew me away, they are all stout, solid dirges of blood pounding menace. There are some faster songs (“The Lair of Anubis”), but even the speedier moments are nicely controlled and manage to retain a mountainous, nordic charm. However, Aeternus’s strong point is penning slower, powerful, monumental riffs. These are riffs that lurch and shudder like a towering siege engine lumbering through the battlefield smoke, towards a castle, with creaking joints and bristling with weapons. For example, the minute from 1:50 to 2:50 in “The Essence of the Elder”, is a knee-bending display of power and oppressive melody. Aeternus also have the ability to create a wickedly ominous and foreboding ambience as demonstrated on one of the stronger tracks (that by no coincidence is the slowest on the album) “Denial of Salvation.” A creeping, moody number, that highlights Aeternus’s ability as songwriters.

Vocally, Ares’ deep throated bellow does a nice job of purveying a venomous hate, even if they are typical, “I am mighty, here comes Armageddon, kill the Christians” lyrics. However, drummer Erik, is the backbone of the driving noise, and although founding member Ares is obviously the main creative talent in the band, Erik, should take credit for giving the material its distinct power.

This album is a definite improvement over the last two releases, and although I do miss the odd acoustics and folky interludes from …And so the Night Became, they have managed to combine these elements into the overall song structures, not as add-ons or afterthoughts to the main songs.

 Just as a personal side note, the cover art could have been more representative of the music. A tornado, with the band members heads, really doesn’t convey the huge nature of the music. This is a strong, aggressive, powerful, dark, metal album that shows if they continue with the continued song writing improvement, Aeternus could be a crushing force to be reckoned with.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 31st, 2001

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