AEON "God Ends Here"
AEON is a band that has always been a curiosity to me. They have considerable pedigree when taking into account how long they've been in the game and who has been in the band. They have garnered generally positive metal media coverage, they have always had support from others within the scene who have sported the band's merch and taken the band on the road to help them gain further attention. But there's always been an uncertain something holding this band back from exploding onto the scene. Hopefully this record will change that.
Right from that opening bomb-blast riff of "Liar's Den" you honestly know exactly what you are getting into here, and it's damn reassuring. If you are a fan of bands like MALEVOLENT CREATION, BLOOD RED THRONE, and MYRKSKOG’s more straight-up death metal side - or for that matter, any of Aeon's previous releases - then strap in for a great OSDM listen. Brutal riffage with just the right amount of bombast abounds, and there's tons of carpet roll double-bass driving the rhythms. At the same time, the band is not shy about occasionally throwing in a big rock chord or two to mix things up. Occasional blast-beats are used to break things up on the speed front, but they are used a bit more sparingly compared to what seems to be the de rigueur in the extreme metal scene these days, and while that might turn off some potential new fans from latching on, surely OSDM fans that don't place a requirement on BPM will find plenty to love.
A list of standout cuts absolutely has to include the riveting title track, where an orchestral backdrop is used to excellent effect in much the same way VADER uses atmosphere on occasional tracks. A marching pace, stop-start main riff, and that closing chant make this an absolute banger that surely will be a focal point for the band's set lists going forward! One has to find a lot to love in a song like "Deny Them Eternity" where there's a lot of stylistic similarities to Corpsegrinder-era CANNIBAL CORPSE with that snare-on-the-one thrash riff and even the vocal delivery over said riff. It comes off as playfully appreciative rather than derivative and lights up your ears when you first hear it. Later in the disc, some really angular riffing a la Trey Azagthoth drives the brutal and irreverent "Despise the Cross" and album-closer "Queen of Lies" ups the bombast to probably the highest level a band like this would ever go for and to great effect. Vocalist Tommy Dahlström is in full force here especially, but he is definitely a focus of the album's mix job and rightfully so because he is one of those incredible death metal vocalists whose delivery has only improved with age. Speaking of the mix, you gotta give it up for ex-guitarist Ronnie Björnström really having his pulse of what this band truly needs from an engineering standpoint. Everything just sounds kinda perfect with just the right amount of grime, the right amount of crispness, and perfect leveling across the board.
If there is one major gripe to be found it's the releases 5 instrumental intro pieces. They are honestly the solvent cutting through the glue of this record, breaking up the flow and over-extending this LP beyond it's 11 quality tracks of death. In the case of album intro "The Nihilist," it can be forgiven, but then they just keep coming out of nowhere to interrupt an otherwise incredible listen.
AEON honestly have needed to put a record like this to finally take them over the top. Let's just hope the audience finds it!