Aeternus - _Shadows of Old_
by: Paul Schwarz (
Aeternus' last album, _...And So the Night Became_, though an impressive show of the band's talents, was somewhat ponderous and a little rough around the edges. By comparison, _Shadows of Old_ is a far more convincing and polished work. Its production (which is testament to the fact that Pytten, working at Grieghallen, can still produce brilliant metal records) focuses the band's creative skill and aggressive energy and, when combined with the tightly focused compositions, results in an album which is truly destructive while also diverse and dynamic; though Aeternus forthrightly go for the jugular, they have been careful not to lose their dynamic edge. The soothing melodic plucking of an acoustic guitar or a gentle wash of keyboard soundscapes still provide sudden and subtle breaks from the cascading mounds of intense riffage, and are also intertwined into them at points (e.g. the sitar on "Prophecy of the Elder Reign"). With a bagpipe outro ("The Sunset's Glory") moving out of the pitch black shadow of the rest of the album, I am left highly impressed though not unequivocally converted to Aeternus' cause.
(article published 1/15/2000)
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