Age Eternal

So, I’ve never really liked YOB or even really enjoyed stoner doom/rock, so when graced with the sudden appearance of Middian’s debut album featuring Mike Scheidt of the now defunct YOB, I wasn’t sure I’d like this 5 track slab of similarly themed metal. However, with a more aggressive, metal edge more akin to the likes of maybe Rwake and Minsk, thought hints of stoner doom/rock are rife, Age Eternal was a surprisingly enjoyable listen.

Harsher vocals as well as more abrasive, less psychedelic structures make for a more dynamic, oppressive album as a whole. The 5 tracks, while still rooted in a sort of distant Sabbath haze are certainly modernized and far less based on groove and rock (i.e. Mike’s previous band YOB, Fu Manchu, Earthride, The Sword, The Hidden Hand, etc). The thicker, raspier chords and denser riffage, only occasionally brought to mind, red eyed bong soaked party metal, but a tangibly more foreboding and lean form of only slightly stoner based doom.

Opener “Dreamless Eye” pretty much sets the stage with a fine slab of girthy doom, but the massive opening sprawl of “The Blood of Icons” before the track’s massive mid section, which is a really impressive of thick rumbling almost post rock expansiveness, heft and subsequent atmospherics. So that’s the first twenty minutes of a nearly sixty minute album, and I have to be honest, the rest of the album, though just as solid, never quite sucks me in and commands me to listen and absorb. The 14 minute title track takes an Opeth-ian time a prose to get going, but never completely rewards the listener with the sort of terse gait of the first tow tracks, rather plummeting to a rather lethargic and forgetful plod. Still, for more patient, grizzled and pot ripened listeners, the track may seem like an eternal sonic nirvana. “The Celebrant” is the album’s most up-tempo track, and may surprise YOB fans in its thunderous lurch, but still, it’s not greatness or the genre redefined, just sturdy. And that pretty much defines the whole album.

To its credit, Age Eternal holds my attention than any other even vaguely stoner/doom bands, in part because it mostly forsakes that hazy approach in favor of a more direct, more virile approach that only has a slight residue and scent of bong resin. With the next album, I think Mike Scheidt will further get his new lineup and sound further honed, and I will look forward to it, but wont be fiending for it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 11th, 2007


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