Aeon (Sweden, Östersund) – Rise To Dominate

2005’s ‘Bleeding The False’ was, to be very blunt about it, awesome. I often described it to my friends as ‘Deicide times a thousand’: it was that band’s fast, brutal delivery taken to an extreme that I hadn’t even thought possible. That album was traditional death metal overdriven to an insane degree, with a level of utterly single-minded brutality present that I’d never heard before anywhere else. Above and beyond merely being brutal, it had another, less common quality about it. ‘Bleeding The False’ felt like it was a sort of Satanic war march: an attack on the listener, if you will, with everything always going a thousand miles an hour, with neverending rivers of blast beats and tremolo riffs dominating the majority of the music. It was, as direct and fairly one-dimensional as it was, absolutely great.

Two years later and Aeon has returned with their sophomore LP, ‘Rise To Dominate’. It’s still brutal. It’s still fast. It’s still absurdly anti-Christian. But now it’s a lot more multidimensional than the previous album was: there’s a great deal more tempo changes, rhythmic and melodic variation, and a general sense that the band has become more complex as a whole in the time between the last album and this one. Tracks like ‘You Pray To Nothing’ and ‘No One Escapes Us’ bring the tempo down a great deal to create extremely dark, burning compositions, like a good version of Deicide’s ‘Insineratehymn’. The riffing has become a good deal more complex and melodic, and the drumming has become less binary in nature; vocals are also now less deep and more intelligible (not that they were particularly Lord Worm-like before). A more melodic and varied Aeon, though, is still more brutal than nearly any other band on the planet, and the overall tone of the band has not changed. If anything, the general attitude has gotten more focused, with all of the humor of the previous album gone from this one. It’s even more demonic than before.

The technical performances have ramped up since ‘Bleeding The False’, and Aeon plays tighter and harder than ever. It’s not just the speed that makes Aeon seem brutal: it’s the intensity with which they play their instruments, that can’t be faked through studio trickery. Each blast beat sounds positively crushing in the same way that Suffocation’s drumming has: it really sounds like drummer Nils Fjellström is attempting to kill his kit through massive, crushing blows. The riffs are similar: each chord is wrecking and massive, and the only slight reprieve from this is in the brief solos. There’s a machinelike delivery that Aeon has, a truly warlike sound that few others have been able to replicate, which gives their music an entirely new and ferocious edge when compared to the average these days. I wouldn’t describe Aeon as brutal death metal; they don’t really sound like Disgorge or Suffocation. Rather, it’s traditional, early 90’s style death metal, only sped up and brutalized dramatically; most of the riffs wouldn’t seem very out of place back in ’93, albeit much slower.

The production is, of course, great. Rich and bass heavy, with all elements audible, and all the power kept in the guitars and bass drums, just as it should be. It seems that it’s a more serious album: ‘Bleeding The False’ was awesome, but it also felt like the band was playing around a bit. Not here. The anti-Christian sentiment is completely devoid of humor or good time feelings, and is, if possible, even more direct lyrically than the material on the first album. Aeon has essentially taken the crown of Satanic death metal from Deicide, and in the process, created material better than the vast majority of what that band better turned out. But the great question always is: “Is it better than the previous album?” Well, for that, I’m not so sure. As far as composition goes, this is obviously superior, being a great deal more complex and varied than ‘Bleeding The False’ could ever hope to be. But the absolute single-minded aggression and hatred of that album is still pretty cool to me. I suppose it comes down purely to personal preference.

Nothing more should need to be said. If you liked Aeon’s first album, this one is the perfect logical successor and the perfect logical choice of purchase. Aeon is the fist in the face of Jehovah, and I don’t think they’ll ever stop doing what they’re doing. If the band’s values are as uncompromising as their music is, churches will mysteriously burn to the ground long after each member of Aeon has rotted away. Buy it or you’re a Christian. And you don’t want that, do you?

(Originally written for http://www.vampire-magazine.com)

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~ by noktorn on September 12, 2007.

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