Blistering and desolate, Aeons Black is icy Swedish death metal at its most adamant. The fourth full-length recording by Aeon, the follow-up to Path of Fire comes with more of the blasphemy and hatred fans have come to expect from this quintet.
The band formed in 1999, coming out of the ashes of a group called Defaced Creation. Vocalist Tommy Dahlström, guitarist Zeb Nilsson and drummer Arttu Malkki were the early members, while some line-up changes eventually led to the arrival of guitarist Daniel Dlimi and bassist Marcus Edvardsson.
As technically proficient as these cats are, the most striking element of the music of Aeon is their insistence on bleakness. Through all the thunderous guitars, blast-beats and Cookie Monster vocals, the Swedes persist in calling down hell on the listener. Dahlström’s lyrics apparently come from the fact that he was bothered by a crew of Jehovah’s Witnesses when he was younger.
What we get out of this is not just scepticism of religion – and Christianity in particular – but outright hatred and contempt.
This is apparent from the outset, with the chugging “Still They Pray” an obvious indictment of the faithful. The aggression is chest-crushing, but Aeon wisely mixes it up a little with a few short but flavourful riffs. The track is a full-on assault and Dahlström has little patience. His death growl is a good accent, both defining and exemplifying his rage before a shift in tempo stirs the pit.
Most of the tracks feature similar themes, like “Blessed By the Priest” and “Passage to Hell.”
As blunt as Dahlström can be, he’s even blunter on “I Wish You Death.” The unadorned lyrics fit perfectly with the blunt instruments provided by the rest of the band. Punches of guitar and haphazard drumming make the melody hard to catch, but the chaos is intoxicating nonetheless.
Aeons Black is an uncompromising death metal album. There are a few moments of respite, most of them in the form of interludes like “The Voice of the Accuser” and such. For the most part, though, the latest release from Aeon is a crushing and brutal piece of work to the very bitter end.