Aetherium Mors – Entrails of the Soul EP

AetheriumMors (200x200)What a complete difference a year can make. In 2012, Aetherium Mors’ debut left me frustrated, as half the album was a headed-in-the-right-direction display of melodic/blackened death metal, but the rest of the record felt disconnected with the intensity of its first three tracks. Recently I saw a link for their new EP in my in-box, and what ensued bitch-slapped me with a slab of Metal so worthy I have literally spun it ten times in the last few days.

Title track ‘Entrails of the Soul’ opens with a foreboding acoustic intro, followed by a repeated chord casting a swarm-of-insects affect, and then the death metal arrives. Blistering, frantic drumming, introduces guitars that fuse understated melody and overt dissonance all at once, with riffs that jump from low to high on the fretboard with determination, but shy away from boring the listener with tech-death wankery. Multi-instrumentalist Dan Couch’s skills are more Azagthoth than Yngwie, in the way that evil intention reigns supreme over convoluted composition (as it should with death metal). Listen for the insane, bent-note/speed-picked riff near the the first song’s end and you’ll hear what I mean. Song two, ‘Ritual to Evince the Subsurface of Purity’, opens loud and proud with Bill Steer-like guitar harmony, but before ‘happiness’ ensues, vocalist/lyricist Kane Nelson screams ‘SATAAAAAAN! (pause) LUCIFEEERR!’ (heh) and we’re once again off to the races. A potent Spiritual Healing album/Death-style riff carries you into the chorus, and this writer (Chuck disciple that I am) nearly dropped my laptop with glee. At 3:15, a brief homage to Piggy surfaces, that famous spazz jazz chording of his channeling Voivod out of the headphones. Fuck yes, I thought to myself, these guys fucking get it. And then, more: a variation of that glorious aforementioned Schuldiner riff backs the excellent solo that – dare I say it – reminds me of that ’90s era of James Murphy’s leadwork. Kane finishes the song by exclaiming ‘So it is done!’

Goddamn right.

‘Divine Order Without God’ follows with a main riff screeched out high on the neck, sewn to a ‘sweep-picked’ turnaround that feels wholly appropriate with the song’s feel, rather than being obnoxious. The final moments of the track recall pre-action-figure Amon Amarth, smoldering with melodic, axe-wielding bloodlust, but here imbued with a fully Satanic purpose, as the moment of its focus – the murder of God with the same Lance of Longinus that finished off his son – is detailed: Staring into dilating eyes – Of the weakest men – This is the place – Where all divinities go to die …

Another unexpected palette of sound opens closer ‘Souls Diseased by Faith’, wherein a dying-note Jerry Cantrell-ism showcases Couch’s flexibility without diminishing what follows – a song with penetrating thrash at its blackened death metal heart, clanging bass (resonating nicely in the chorus) and all. The song is sinister without ever leaving its listener lost in a maelstrom, by virtue of its pacing and current production, both of which hit the mark.

This band has returned in 2013 re-energized, revitalized, and ready to conquer, and have proven that melodic death metal sounds can coexist with atonal, modern blackened death riffery and have a repeated-listen result. Their music has evolved in the best of ways, and with an EP like Entrails of the Soul, Aetherium Mors won’t be unsigned for long. -Jim

Self-released

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~ by cliftonium on November 20, 2013.

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