Aphelium Aeternum
Dark Interstellar Mysteries

If you’ve read this site for any amount of time you know I’m a sucker for 90s-styled symphonic black metal. And here is the debut from German newcomers Aphelium Aeternum and their excellent debut Dark Interstellar Mysteries, which delivers a perfect rendering of the genre, imbuing the classic acts like Dimmu Borgir, Obtained Enslavement, Old Man’s Child, Emperor, Arcturus, And Oceans, Mystic Circle, Limbonic Art, Covenant, Arthemesia and such.

And while a ‘new’ band, Aphelium Aeternum has veteran members from a number of more obscure (at least to me) other German bands like Pestnebel, Drudensang, Ungod, and others as well as a newcomer, ‘M.P’ on the all-important keyboards. This veteran presence shows with a confident, classic-sounding debut that’s one of the more purely, classic sounding albums I’ve heard in a while, and certainly since Northwind Wolves‘ debut Cold Dark Grim back in 2018 and more recently Moonlight Sorcery‘s first EP.

The whole 90s symphonic black metal genre is perfectly encapsulated with both the writing and delivery, as well as the slightly tinny guitars, rasped vocals, and the wonderfully throwback, cosmic keyboards.

There’s the requisite atmospheric/instrumental intro “The Stargate Opens” (as well as mid-album and album-ending instrumentals) before the title track delivers a furiously raw, but majestic assault of riffs and keys that immediately shows the band’s grasp on the genre that contines for the next 40 minutes.

The pure throwback keys in “Spiritual Journey to the Arcane Cosmos” are gleefully archaic, but superbly done as they are in the next track “Voidgänger”. Instrumental “Event Horizon” is the album’s mid-point instrumental before “Where Creation Ends” and more epic “Into the Timeless Abyss” delivers two of the album’s most vicious tracks. And maybe that’s the one minor gripe- there isn’t a lot of pacing or change up in the material, the two tracks I just mentioned are pretty interchangeable with many of the others.

That said, the album’s back end is highlighted by the 8-minute standout ” Nocturnal Dimensions Unfold” and the short mid-paced number “Dead Eyes Stare into the Nightsky”, the album’s only ‘slow’ track’- that’s more of an outro, before the actual outro ends a fine album that has been on regular rotation for me since it came out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 8th, 2023


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