Aeternus - _Ascension of Terror_
by: Pedro Azevedo (
1997 and 1998 saw the unleashing of Aeternus' first two full-length creations: _Beyond the Wandering Moon_ and _...And So the Night Became_. Their dense, warlike death metal -- morose, doomy and very dark -- set them apart as both a rather unique band and one whose music would not be easily enjoyed by the average listener. It took a special frame of mind to fully absorb the atmospheric qualities of their lengthy compositions, but the music could also be quite rewarding in the end. Anno 1999, Aeternus changed their sound and direction noticeably with _Shadows of Old_ -- a potent, dynamic slab of raging death metal that still retained traces of their music's old warlike atmosphere. The songs were shorter, more dynamic, faster in pace, and the sound was considerably less dense and morose than before. _Shadows of Old_ triumphed through the sheer strength and atmosphere of tracks such as "Dark Rage", its sullen melodies interspersed with outbursts of speed, raging riffs and powerful vocals. _Ascension of Terror_, the matter at hand, is the follow-up to that impressive disc, and its opening track "Possessed by the Serpent's Vengeance" strongly indicates that Aeternus have not lost any of their qualities. Alas, it turns out to be one of the mere two tracks where those qualities seem to remain intact, the other being "Denial of Salvation". This isn't to say that the rest of the album lacks pace or strength -- tracks such as "The Lair of Anubis" leave no doubt about that -- but it does tend to lack some of the old atmosphere, rushing into things and opting for easier, chunkier riffs more often than before. Indeed, one can say that Aeternus' Americanization in style continues; and as a result, the album's title track is ironically the weakest and most simplistic on the disc. Nevertheless, in spite of some weaker moments, _Ascension of Terror_ is still a powerful, bloodthirsty beast that also contains some of Aeternus' best efforts so far. It's just a shame it isn't more consistent overall, as its best tracks alone would easily be worth a more remarkable rating. [Paul Schwarz: "Essentially picking up where 1999's _Shadows of Old_ [CoC #45] left off, _AoT_ marks no substantial change in style or delivery over its predecessor -- but this is no bad thing! _AoT_ is a damn enjoyable, brutal metal record. It is true that it only differs from its predecessor in being yet-more-bludgeoningly death metal -- the presence of -those- dodgy string bends being the one downside to this turn of events --, but yet _Aot_ delivers an absolutely punishing sonic punch to the face as recompense for its lack of forward motion."]
(article published 3/7/2002)
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