Hailing from Birmingham Aeurtum are a band more than deserving of your time and attention. Dealing in progressive, melodic death metal, the band offer up a wonderful experience from the elegiac ‘…and so it begins’ to the closing grind of ‘Awaiting…’ via brutal, stunning black metal delivered with passion and power by a band who exist in that same rarefied field as Spires, Northern Oak and Old Corpse Road. With the album packaged in attractive, home-produced artwork and the music produced to a high quality, ‘The fall’ is certainly an album you should not let pass you by.
Opening track ‘…and so it begins’ tells you all you need to know about the band’s musical skills – a short and breath-takingly beautiful track it is the perfect opening to the album segueing straight into the equally wonderful ‘parity’, a track that opens on a rippling guitar riff underpinned by the gentle rumble of the bass before the track mutates from sun-dappled wonder into sludge-laden doom with thunderous percussion and growled vocals. It’s a frighteningly sparse sound the band have opted for – brittle and dry and yet laden with power, the result being an emotive, memorable black metal journey that blazes into furious life for the deathly ‘Deliverance’, all guttural vocals and blistering riffs. Even more intense is the syncopated riffing of ‘dust in the sunlight’ which sounds like Darkthrone covering Meshuggah, the cyclical rhythms and devastating percussive assault enough to leave your head spinning.
Having dazzled from the off, some bands might find it difficult to maintain standards, but it is clear that Aeurtum spent a good deal of time developing the music for the album and ‘uttered’ opens on a scintillating riff, the intelligent, jazzy percussion adding to the progressive feel as the introduction builds towards a brilliantly atmospheric track that cleverly utilises light and shade to weave an air of mystery around itself, keeping the listener forever guessing towards which direction Aeurtum will spin off next. A high point of a remarkable album, if you wanted one track that encapsulates Aeurtum’s consummate skill as musicians and composers then this is it. The previous track ending abruptly, ‘how the silence wept’ arrives in a blaze of flaming riffs and somnambulant percussion, the barely heard, growled vocals perfectly suited to the doomy riff which powers the song. ‘A moment to breathe’ is exactly that – a stunning moment of calm that is so utterly gorgeous it beggars belief and then the epic ‘dissolved in emerald waves’ unleashes coruscating riffs that sit between the gothic doom of early paradise lost, awash with melody and feeling, and the dry, deathly black metal of (very) early Cradle of filth and Celtic Frost – the result is a track which harnesses the primitive power of atmospheric dearth metal and draws you to its very heart before the grinding, death-metal infused riff of ‘Awaiting…’ closes this brilliantly conceived album leaving you wanting only to listen to the whole thing over once again.
With so much invention at their command it seems that Aeurtum are set for big things indeed. For the time being, however, this is a record which, if you have any interest in extreme metal at all, you must check out. If it has a flaw, then it is the arid production which sometimes does not do full justice to the band’s seemingly unlimited ambition. The UK has thrown up some truly spectacular bands of late: the aforementioned Old Corpse Road, Spires and Northern Oak are all fine examples, as are the mighty De Profundis; and Aeurtum, with this brilliant piece of work, can proudly join their ranks. Atmospheric, brutal and yet also almost unfathomably beautiful, ‘the fall’ is an album that absorbs the listener utterly, to the exclusion of the outside world and its incumbent troubles, and it is the perfect album to get lost inside, the listener finding some new delight on every subsequent listen. A genuine, stunning work of art, this is a wonderful album indeed.