Son of Aurelius
Under a Western Sun

So back in 2010, these guys released a solid album of shredding, technical melodic deathcore/metalcore, that was kind of an under the radar release (other than Metalsucks gushing all over it for 3 articles in a row), and i rather enjoyed it but it wasn’t doing anything new in 2010 that I had not heard before and the likes of Woe of Tyrants, Allegaeon, and Wretched went delivering. But here we are four years later and with a new vocalist, (Riley McShane also new vocalist of budding  tech death metal super stars Inanimate Existence no less) and these guys have emerged from a creative cocoon and surpassed those bands with a stunning second effort of far more ambitious, progressive and brilliant modern metal.

I’d compare the transition to Between the Buried and Me from their self titled debut and The Silent Circus to Alaska, as the band has grown by leaps and bounds and refuses to simply play any single style or genre but rather let their skill set and creativity speak for it self. McShane in particular, is hardly recognizable from his Inanimate Existence growls, delivering mostly stunning clean croons that remind me of Thomas Emmans from Deathpoint and Odium (so a heavy Maynard Keenan influence). He does render some growls and screams, but for the most part his soulful performance is the show stealer, but certainly puts the band in far more introspective and progressive realms.

Lone remaining guitarist Cary Geare delivers a Paul Waggoner type display of arpeggios and melodies but in shorter more digestible songs as opposed to Between the Buried and Me‘s 14 minute opuses, you get 15 songs that range from  4 -7 minutes with a few interludes thrown in. This makes for 72 minutes of stunning music, that while to many is too much, actually gets better as the album goes on and keeps your attention the whole time, and enthralls from start to finish, a rare feat in today’s short attention span metal scene.

After the aptly named intro, “Return to Arms”, “Chorus of the Earth” immediately displays the band’s new found restraint. control and growth that will put off many die hard fans craving the busy shredding of the debut. I feel the band put this out there right away to say- ‘here is how we sound now-like i or leave it’. And I personally love it. It’s a rare album , especially considering it’s length that has highlights at every turn and in every song. You can tell the band put four years of effort into this and it bleeds from every passionate croon, fluttering background synth line and melodic solo.

The album’s veering away from more angry, busy throes to more glorious, uplifting and downright soaring moods is apparent on almost every track as heard on ‘The Weary Wheel”, balladic duo of “The Attack on Prague” and “Clouded Planes” and gorgeous “The Blinding Light”.  But fans of the debut still get a few fixes of more urgent shreddage and growls  as heard on the likes of ‘Coloring the Soul” and “The Stoic Speaks”, “A Great Liberation” and the albums fiercest track,  “The Prison Walls” (which hints at McShane’s other band) , even if the focus is often on McShane’s soaring vocals.

The last four tracks of  the album are sheer melodic epic, prog metal bliss with instrumental “Submerge and Surface”, soaring “Long Ago” (where McShane really shows his pipes and the album’s apex,  the 7+ minute title track and closing instrumental “Strange Aeons”. Usually anything over 60 minutes and my attention wanes, but this album hits the spot for every second. It’s heartfelt, skillful, epic, melodic and downright engaging in is proggy but modern metallic songcraft. Get it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
July 15th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: F.RINI

    loved the first one, will ck this out!


  2. Commented by: xrefused

    Erik,your reviews have never steered me wrong ever since the digital metal/metal review days. Thanks man.


  3. Commented by: E. Thomas

    cheers xrefused!


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