Aeternus

Aeternus

Ascension Of Terror

Hammerheart

Aeternus have definitely evolved a good deal since last year’s Burning The Shroud compilation. What was a promising but not fully realized piece of war metal has now transformed, with Ascension Of Terror, into a battle anthem for the Norse Gods. Their overall aesthetic has developed into a lacerated death march, with the requisite scorched earth policy. But to this unfettered warlust, Aeternus have added some fascinating sounds and flourishes that place them a (severed) head above the pack.

First off, the sound quality of Aeternus on wax has improved tremendously; there is a punishing immediacy that makes for more rewarding listening. Then there is the subtle experimentation. Between the sheets of bloody ice that is “Possessed by the Serpents Vengeance,” Aeternus add eerie nocturnes and classical guitar flourishes. “Slaying The Lambs” is propelled along by some utterly ace Slayerish riffing. The vocals of Ares throughout are so much better now, much more demonic and possessed by the elder gods. “Ascension Of Terror” has a great lyrical conceit — “I am here to bring fear into your life” — and a loose, thrashy feel.

“Essence of the Elder” is just old-school wall of sound black metal, executed quite precisely with a tasteful break in the middle section. “Warlust” is a pagan Viking celebration with an awesome evil coda. “Wrath of the Warlord” is a nice burst of adrenaline, as is “Burning The Shroud,” the double bass hurricane was tasty as hell. “Denial Of Salvation” builds at a slow burn, before plunging into an incredible clean guitar solo that betrays a great deal of emotion, finally collapsing into frenzied curses against God and guitar feedback. “The Lair of Anubis” doesn’t quite reach the heights of Nile, though it works. It’s no Wurdulak, but it’s a nice little slab of darkened metal.

Aeternus: http://www.aeternus.ch/, http://www.xs4all.nl/~hhr/

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