For those of you unfamiliar with the label, Battlegod productions are an Australia based label who specialise in underground metal such as Aeveron whose album ‘Existential Dead End’ we are reviewing here.
“The embodiment of all misery” sets out the bands stall quickly and effectively with tumultuous drums, fast-paced guitars that aren’t a million miles away from Cradle of Filth covering Iron Maiden (which is no bad thing if you’ve ever heard that band’s cover of ‘Hallowed be thy name’) and vocals that shift between a deathly grunt and Therion-esque power metal singing. While the band pack a fair deathly punch, they veer into classic rock territory with fluid solos that are satisfyingly high in the mix and the production overall is powerful and chunky. ‘Cathartic run’ continues in the same vein, with mid-paced guitars offset by atmospheric and not keyboards which, thankfully, don’t swamp the mix. Despite the unholy bellow the singer manages to project, the band have an impressive grasp of melody and it is a testament to their song-writing skill that the tunes are both heavy and memorable. ‘Take heed of trust’ is an out-and-out attack on the senses and is easily the heaviest track thus far with a brutal guitar riff coupled to a vicious double-bass-drum attack while the singer exhorts you not to be led astray. It’s powerful stuff that requires a conscious effort not to start plying air guitar along to (never good when riding the bus to work). ‘Bound for victory’ sees the keyboards more prevalent in the mix and while they are skilfully played they do blunt the force of the band somewhat and they work better offering background atmospherics than they do in the foreground.
‘Autoapotheosis’ (try saying that three times quickly) opens with a whispered intro that is none more Cradle of filth before the band come chugging in somewhat slower than expected on what proves to be one of the album’s highlights. Here the keyboards, offering washes of orchestral sound, work far better and when the song shifts into gear it does so with a venomous snarl that sees the band laying down an impressive barrage. The bass-led ‘Anger complex’ sees the drummer flexing his creative muscles with a jerky time-signature and the band slamming out a song that is every bit as aggressive as the name might imply. ‘Contemplation’ is rather slower, with a doomy feel that is more Paradise Lost than Dimmu Borgir. ‘A hymn to mortality’ sees those classic rock comparisons raising their heads again with harmonised soloing and a galloping feel that sits comfortably after the previous numbers treacle-thick heaviness. The album closes, all too quickly, on the title track which is a vicious belter which once again demonstrates the formidable skill of the guitarists and which contains an eerie, yet fascinating sample which ruminates upon humanity before the album leaves you on a high, having been pummelled for a relatively svelte 48 minutes.
When one considers the glut of bad music on the market (just browse the shelves of your local HMV) it’s refreshing to find bands and labels (and there are many for those prepared to look) who take the time and trouble to release music that is worthwhile rather than fashionable. Battlegod (of whom more later) are a label who support and release a variety of quality metal and while they may not have any big names, they have an awful lot of bands, such as Aeveron, who ooze quality and are deserving of your time and effort in tracking down. ‘Existential Dead end’ may not quite be a classic release, but it is a thoroughly exciting blast of metal played with commitment and enthusiasm by a group of talented musicians. Easily purchased from the Battlegod website (there’s a link below) this is a tight, brutal album that rewards frequent spins with depth and detail.