Saturday, August 18, 2007

Aeon - Rise to Dominate (2007)

I've been waiting for this one for a while. Aeon's debut full-length, Bleeding the False, is one of my favourite death metal albums. It showcases a mildly technical, brutal, catchy, and unremittingly blasphemous attack on all that is holy. This hasn't really changed on the new album. The first thing I noticed when I fired it up is that, while the first album was a head-on onslaught, the pace has been upped even further. Rise to Dominate rarely ever lets up, lending it an extremely brutal aura, yet also making some sections blend together as breakneck metal is wont to do. The guitars are again completely ripping, and quite similar to the style on Bleeding the False. Some of the songs seems derivative, such as the first, which sounds just like something by Hate Eternal, or the second, which I know I've heard before but can't place. However, even if the songs are familiar, they're still wrapped up in a tasty Aeon shell and ready to please. The drumming is just as ferocious as always, thanks to Nils Fjellstrom of Dark Funeral legacy. The singing, another highlight of the first album (which showed off extremely vicious growling combined with crystal-clear enunciation), was my majour concern for Rise to Dominate, thanks to the myspace teaser. It is true, the vox have taken a minor turn for the generic, most likely due to the increased pace of the music, but they're never unpleasant, and quite often just as brutal.

One thing I wanted to specifically talk about is the lyrical content and presentation of Aeon, seeing as that was one of the most notable aspects of their first album. While they are just as single-mindedly anti-Christian as before, they don't seem to pack that same simplistic shock factor. Perhaps I'm missing more lyrics due to the lowered clarity of the singing, but they seem to be much less extreme and more serious. There are no songs analogous to "God Gives Head in Heaven" on Rise to Dominate - "Caressed by the Holy Man" starts out with a sinister sample of a little girl and keeps that tone, rather than taking a humourous bent as you'd expect it to. I'm guessing Aeon want to be taken more seriously, and are cutting back on the tongue-in-cheek lyrics. While I do miss laughing aloud at their music, I can't fault them at all for taking this approach.

With a meatier production, courtesy of Dan Swano, and a reinforced focus on their style, Rise to Dominate presents a strong advancement by these brutal Swedes. I do not feel that this album is nearly as memorable as their first, but that does not stop it from being as heavy as Helel Ben Shachar's hatred for everything sacred.

Aeon believe in Satan, and Satan believes in them

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