Aeternus - _A Darker Monument_
(Nocturnal Art Productions, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Back again with their fifth full-length album, the Norwegian
black/doom band that turned death metal has severed ties with long time
label Hammerheart Records and joined forces with Nocturnal Art
Productions. With _A Darker Monument_ Aeternus have another go at
topping their brilliant _Shadows of Old_, which they had failed to do
with their last album _Ascension of Terror_. A fresh approach was
mandatory, but unfortunately, while Aeternus have come out with
something slightly better than _Ascension of Terror_, their approach
still suffers from virtually the same shortcomings as last time. _A
Darker Monument_ starts off quite well, with the mid to fast-paced
"Sword of the Earth", which seems to announce that Aeternus have
decided to shed most of their recent American death metal leanings.
Second track "Slavestate" dispels this notion, however, and it becomes
clear we are in for another mixed bag from Aeternus. Overall I find
more engaging passages on _A Darker Monument_ than I did on _Ascension
of Terror_, but the answer to whether Aeternus have created an album
that can challenge the mighty _Shadows of Old_ is clearly negative.
Tracks like "Litany of Ra" and "Seen Through Abhorrent Eyes" make sure
_A Darker Monument_ remains a worthy effort, but with all the quality
death metal coming out lately (Immolation, Vital Remains, Behemoth),
Aeternus fail to make a huge impression. Much like what happened on
_Ascension of Terror_, there is simply too much unremarkable mid-paced
riffage going on. _A Darker Monument_ is still a very competent album
and marginally better than its predecessor, but it has neither as much
atmosphere as _Beyond the Wandering Moon_ and _...And So the Night
Became_ nor as much intensity as _Shadows of Old_. In case you are
wondering why my rating is actually lower than last time even though I
find this new album slightly better than the previous, the answer is
simple: I wouldn't give _Ascension of Terror_ an 8 today, and _A
Darker Monument_ is still not good enough coming from Aeternus.
Considering all that this band has done in the past, one continues to
get the feeling that Aeternus are underachieving, and so another album
has gone by in competent but relatively unremarkable fashion.
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