Sweden's Aeon has a reputation for being one of the more blasphemous death Metal bands and they continue to live up to this reputation on 'Aeons Black', their fourth full length album and follow up to 2010s 'Path Of Fire'.
For their latest album they have gone from a four piece to five piece, with Daniel Dimmi moving from bass and rhythm guitars to guitars and replaced by Marcus Edvardsson on bass and Arttu Malkki replacing Nils Fjelstrӧm on drums which somewhat changes the dynamics and also there is a slight move away from the technical edged sound of 'Path Of Fire' towards a dirtier slightly more bland but none the still less good sound.
The vicious and excellent vocals of Tommy Dahlstrӧm are the high point of the album; a combination frightening growls and screams that make your hair stand on end. The lyrics are, as always, wonderfully vicious, hate filled and blasphemous.
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Consisting of fifteen tracks, a sizable offering, the album opens with 'Still They Pray' and as the opening guitars gradually build in volume, a track dominated by machine gun riffs and nicely garnished with solos, develops before your ears.
'The Glowing Hate' has dirty, ominous, opening riffs and maintains a sinister dirty element to its sound throughout; a good track.
'The Voice Of The Accuser' is a beautiful piano instrumental and serves as an excellent break between tracks.
With 'I Wish You Death' I have one tiny issue and that is that the excessive use of 'squeal' from the guitars is a bit annoying (a constant presence throughout but first noticeably apparent at this point in the album) however I can certainly empathise with the lyrical message on this track.
I enjoyed 'Garden Of Sin' for the variety of tempo change which gave the track a certain quality even though it is another squealer; it also has a tasty solo in the final minute. 'Neptune The Mystic' is a blackened chugging and enjoyable instrumental interlude.
On 'Nothing Left To Destroy', if the opening drum roll and kick ass drum work isn't enough to get you fired up then the fast as hell riffs will surely will on one of the standout tracks of the album.
The combination of sinister whispers and vocal wails on the instrumental 'Passage To Hell' carve the way for the sinister title track, another favourite with me, 'Aeons Black'. The menacing vocal layering of growls and screams add so much whilst really complementing the dirty guitars.
The opening crescendo of cymbals followed up by in your face machine gun riffs and a great solo on 'Dead Means Dead' makes it a catchy little 'face ripper' of a track.
'Sacrificed' is fast, catchy and a great track, another favourite with me while 'Aftermath', the final instrumental, gives you just enough time to catch your breath before the last three tracks, 'Blessed By The Priest', which lyrically says it like it is, given recent accusations of the priesthood, the frantic and furious, 'Maze Of The Damned' and excellent closing track 'Die By My Hands' and every last bit of effort is put into this final track, my favourite of the album.
'Aeons Black' is good but not quite as good as it's predecessor, 'Path Of Fire' which had that slightly technical edge and featured the excellent, brutal and blasphemous 'Forgiveness Denied' which for me is one of those exceptional stand out tracks, also the squeal to the guitars, at times, was a little excessively applied but none the less still a great piece of face ripping death Metal.
Aeons Black is out now on Metal Blade Records.