Aeternus - _A Darker Monument_
(Nocturnal Art Productions, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7.5 out of 10)
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.


(article published 8/6/2003)

1/15/2000 P Schwarz Aeternus: And From the Night Came... Shadows of Old?
4/18/2006 J Montague 5 Aeternus - Hexaeon
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 8 Aeternus - Ascension of Terror
1/15/2000 P Schwarz 8.5 Aeternus - Shadows of Old
9/1/1998 A McKay 9 Aeternus - ... And So the Night Became
10/16/1997 A Lewandowski 9 Aeternus - Beyond the Wandering Moon
11/20/2000 P Schwarz Mayhem / Aeternus / Red Harvest Declaring War on the Underground
1/15/2000 M Noll Cannibal Corpse / Marduk / Angelcorpse / Aeternus / Defleshed Two Corpses, One God and No Flesh
3/14/1999 P Schwarz Deicide / Rotting Christ / Aeternus / Ancient Rites / Behemoth Dead by Dawn
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