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Music Review: Aeternam – Disciples of the Unseen

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Aeternam hails from Montreal, Canada, and is on the brink of hitting in a big way. No, they are not poised for mainstream success, although that would be nice, they are set to make their mark in the area of epic death metal. Think Behemoth, Nile, and Dimmu Borgir and you are on the right track. I am not saying they are in their league, not quite yet anyway, but one listen reveals Aeternam to be a band worth keeping an eye on.

At the same time, the comparisons are not entirely accurate as there is a heavier melodic focus here. They are equally adept at churning out brutal riffs and turning up the epic melody. All things considered, this is a promising debut release.

That's right, Disciples of the Unseen is the debut release for Aeternam who signed with Metal Blade records just last year. It is a self-assured release with a maturity that belies the relative youth of the band. They know how to balance the brutal and the melody to create a sound that is familiar and fresh at the same time. On top of that, there is noticeable influence from Middle Eastern sources. Many of the riffs and solos are heavily influenced by Middle Eastern sounding music. It makes me wish I knew a little more about the genre to go see where the source is, but unfortunately I cannot at this time. Still, the sound adds a lot of flavor to he mix and helps Aeternam stand out from the crowd.

What may be the most impressive about this release and this band is the wide variety of styles and sounds they have at their disposal and the ease with which they are able to blend them. One moment they are burning catchy riffs into your head, the next they are beating you about the head and shoulders with some straight up death metal, then they move onto Middle Eastern flavored acoustics. It keeps you wondering just what they are going to do next.

The album opens with an instrumental piece, "Ars Almadel," featuring a chanting voice before the band kicks in with a catchy groove with some of those Middle Eastern touches I keep mentioning. This leads directly into the brutal melody of  "Angel Horned," the first proper song of the album. Groove, melody, epic soloing, all in one place.

If that is not enough for you, the melody is taken to the next level with "Esoteric Formulae." Here the riffing is infectious and the vocals step back from the growl we have already been introduced to and allowed to have a clean voice adding to the melodic nature of the tune.

The sounds of the first two songs are combined for "The Coronation of Seth." Man, is there anything they can't do on this debut? I am greatly impressed with the mature song writing and the ability these songs have to cut through it all and get to the point of flat out rocking.

I could take you song by song through the album, but where is the fun in that? There is a lot to discover here and the more you listen the more you are bound to discover.

Be prepared to discover the atmospherics of "Iteru" and "Through the Eyes of Ea," the cymbal punishment in "Hamunaptra" and "Ouroboros," plus the aggression of "Circle in Flames."

Bottomline. Aeternam have created an ear catching record. This is a band that has finely developed skills and have delivered an album that is sure to put them on the map. It is a unique creation that deftly delivers a sound that is as familiar and welcoming as it is unique. I am looking forward to seeing what they will offer us in the future. What else is left but to sit back and enjoy? I suggest you do the same.

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