Aethyr – Corpus (Cimmerian Shade Recordings, 19 February 2015)
Hello, Readers, and welcome to yet another paradisiac Monday. I could bore you all with another long intro filled with whining about being stuck back at work again after another too-short weekend, but today I’m choosing not to. Instead, I would like to pass along with you some interesting food for thought — something that was published last week, but I came across this morning on the bus when I saw that our fellow metal journalists at Broken Amp had shared it on Facebook. This article on Last Rites entitled “Heavy Metal in the Modern Age” discusses the role of the Internet in terms of the music industry — not just as the instrument that killed most of the previous infrastructure and completely transformed the existing business models, but as a tool that has leveled the playing field and removed many of the obstacles that were in place for bands, while offering far greater access and connectivity to fans. Much of the article, though, also relates to the changing role of the media outlets in this new superconnected world. Too often, says the author, websites are so busy clambering over each other to be the first to jump onto the bandwagon of the Next Big Thing that they forget to take the time to enjoy the music.
I can relate to a lot of what is said here: this new “level playing field” environment certainly lends itself to an overwhelming amount of materials available out there, and the absence of some of the former obstacles does result in a much wider range in terms of the quality of what ends up getting disseminated out there. But as I’ve stated in the past, I don’t mind wading through all the junk that exists, because the feeling of unexpectedly coming across something truly amazing more than makes up for it. Out of necessity — since this website is mostly a single-person operation with some rare exceptions — it takes a lot of time to go through everything that comes my way, so I hardly ever find myself playing the get-it-written-as-far-as-possible-before-the-release-date game. Rather, (as I’ve occasionally noted when writing about various albums) I sometimes will spend months (or longer!) enjoying something before I actually get the opportunity to write about it. But I don’t look at this as being negative; just because something has already passed its release date doesn’t mean it no longer needs to be promoted, or that it can no longer find its way to an appreciative audience’s ears. So this article has made me feel like my approach is somewhat vindicated. In any case, I will continue to share with you Readers as I come across things I feel are worth sharing.
For example, I’ve got something for you today from a Russian doom metal band called Aethyr. Here again is the link to that Last Rites article; you can bookmark it for later or you can check it out now and come back when you’ve finished. Either way, you won’t want to miss this….
This album — the second full-length in the six-year history of this band, whose discography also includes a handful of EPs and splits — was one that really grabbed my attention immediately when I first heard it a few months ago. Quite a few listens later, I decided the best way I could describe it: whatever genre you would consider bands like Indian and Lord Mantis to belong to (blackened death-sludge??), about half of Corpus could be described as post-that. And the other half could maybe be called post-that. If that made any sense to you, chances are you’re excited to hear this already.
Starting with the low-tempo riffs trudging along in opening track “Nihil Grail”, switching between harsh snarls and deep gutteral growls (where there are any vocals present — large portions of each track here are instrumental-only), the band expands its way into atmospheric post-black metal territory, while never straying too far from either the sludge or death metal elements — with one definite exception: on the fifth track, “The Gnostic Mass,” they turn very introspective and meditative, presenting about six minutes worth of droney and repetitive sounds, softly accompanied (occasionally) by the sound of someone talking, which sounds a bit like an old radio broadcast. Otherwise, it’s mostly heavy, sludgy, ugly noise snaking its way throughout these arrangements — and you certainly can’t go wrong with that!
You can listen to Corpus at Bandcamp (see below), and the CD version is available to buy right here.
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