Aeon don’t mess about with orchestral interludes, lengthy intros or any of the symphonic flourishes that many of their peers indulge in (if one ignores the entirely apt closing to God Of War). Instead they aim squarely for the jugular by opening with the stripped down brutality of ‘forgiveness denied’ that couples Behemoth-esque riffs with blinding solos that wouldn’t be out of place on a technical thrash album. Such an opening commands respect especially as the band combine the harshness of death metal with an incisive melodic edge thanks to the solos that keeps their sound fresh and invigorating.
With such an impressive opening it is a good sign that Aeon maintain the levels of pace and quality throughout the album. Second track ‘kill them all’ manages the difficult track of combining a genuinely chantable chorus with the technical proficiency demanded of a modern death metal band. It’s not hard to imagine a thousand fists pumping the air in time to this blackest of anthems and there is no doubt that come tour time this will be a live favourite instantly igniting any mosh-pit upon contact. The solos are, happily, brilliantly produced (not entirely usual for a death metal act) and come soaring through with a vital clarity that enhances the tracks greatly. ‘Inheritance’ slows the pace down a touch with pitch harmonics galore and a militaristic feel worthy of Satyricon. A track that is claustrophobic in its intensity it’s a moment that encapsulates the stunning brutality of Aeon in one short track. ‘Abomination to God’ is a faster track that regains the album’s earlier momentum with a truly vicious vocal performance from Tommy Dahlstöm who spends the whole album excelling in his role as demented anti-preacher. ‘Total Kristus Inversus’ is a windswept guitar piece that is entirely majestic and showcases the skill on display here. It also leads perfectly into ‘of fire’ which boasts an astonishingly evil riff.
Speaking of evil ‘I will burn’ is not only a stamen of intent but a surprisingly straightforward track, almost thrash in its approach’ that once again sees the band echoing Satyricon’s crowd-baiting tunes in a manner guaranteed to have any death-metal fan drooling with misbegotten pleasure. ‘Suffer the soul’ is more complex, with a rhythm that shows that Nils Fjellström is not only a heavy hitter but also a seriously adept drummer with skills to match those of guitarists Sebastian Nilsson and Daniel Dlimi. ‘The Sacrament’ reinforces this notion – a non-stop barrage of hate-filled riffs and pummelling drums that is simply dizzying in its execution. ‘Liar in the name of God’ regains the awesome swing and groove of the first few tracks, a bone-shaking behemoth in its own right that simply crushes all in its path and ‘God of War’ closes this nasty, technically perfect exercise in evil with an all out attack on the senses.
When one considers that the album was originally recorded using a drum machine before Nils became available it is astonishing the levels of technical proficiency that have been achieved. Moreover, while ever once of ability has been put on display, Aeon never lose site of the all important sense of melody and groove that make a classic metal album and this disc has both in spades. From the finger-shredding solos to the moments in several chorus’ that genuinely make you want to throw your fists in the air, Aeon have crafted an album that will appeal equally in the bedroom (thanks to an awesomely powerful production job) as it will in the live arena. A stark, brutal and unforgiving album this puts the band up there with Behemoth and Satyricon – a magnificent achievement.