Black Medicine / Fekete Orvosság
posted on 12/2009 By:
It was only a few short weeks ago that I had the chance to review the latest Belphegor album, and the feeling of deja-vu is ringing through my skull like you wouldn’t believe while listening to the newest release from Hungary’s Aetherius Obscuritas, Black Medicine/Fekete Orvossag. But where Belphegor pushes their melodic death metal side into a more dominant position, Aetherius leans more towards the blackened realm of the spectrum while incorporating a very similar sort of smooth tremolo melodicism that strays far from theatrical symphonic fare, while raising just the right amount of death metal hell of their own that brings some heft to the table.
Made up of past and current members of Sudden Death, this is mainly the project of vocalist Arkhorrl, and packs a little more of a wallop this time around than what was found on previous heavily Burzum-inspired releases. I’m not feeling much of a dismal or despondent vibe coming off tunes like "Fagyos Oleles/Freezing Embrace", and much of the material is prone to pagan, almost folksy Taake blast fests that tread ground into black n’ roll territory during "Zord Mosoly/Grim Smile". Further exploring a more infernal influence is the inclusion of a Marduk cover, “The Black Tormentor Of Satan”, which is performed admirably and faithfully without sounding copied and pasted. Not bad.
But after a few spins it becomes very noticeable how brief so many of these songs are, particularly the second blistering track “The End (The Predicted Fall Version)”, otherwise standout “The Mood Shield”, the almost Sear Bliss-like “Circinus Nebulae”, and the all too short acoustic instrumental “A Mult Labnyoma/ In The Wake Of A Remain Footprint”. But to be fair "Passed Out Of Sight-Passed Out Of Mind" features some really cool clean vocals and a well-conceived structure that shows what kind of songwriting can be attained if given a little more time. The unusual choice of ending the album with another cover tune, this time a black n’ roll version of Running Wild’s “Black Demon”, further demonstrates Arkhorrl’s apparent desire to branch out and spread less predictable wings.
It would have been really great to hear these songs expand and breathe a bit, as the abbreviated nature of the tunes leaves me wanting more (hence, the conservative score), even though at a little over 40 minutes, there’s still plenty here to thrash to. The production sounds decent and professional, very much like it was recorded in a good studio with good quality equipment, so no worries about paper-thin guitars, or annoying tin can snare. All in all, if you’re a fan of Taake, Sear Bliss, or Vreid, then it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to at least check out a few samples of Black Medicine if you can find ‘em, because I’m sure you’d enjoy the time spent getting your ears bashed in, even if it doesn’t entirely blow you away.
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