Cendres et Sang
posted on 7/2011 By:
Well, Greece has done it again. They’re already able to claim Septicflesh and Rotting Christ as their own, and now the Greeks have unleashed Aenaon. This avant-garde black metal group possesses such strong technical ability and songwriting chops that it’s damn hard to believe this is their first full-length album. Cendres et Sang (which is French for ‘Ashes and Blood’), is a wonderfully creative and exceptionally well-produced record that should not be overlooked. Aenaon has a mature and compelling sound, and they create their multifaceted, innovative, and chaotic brand of metal with four talented members.
To put it bluntly, this band has their shit together.
Aenaon opens the album with a shimmering saxophone intro (entitled “Kafkaesque”), followed by “Suncord”, which fully immerses the listener in black metal/jazz fusion that never becomes unlistenable or unnatural. Even though there are layers upon layers of genre-bending sound, the entire piece remains cohesive and engaging. The sections of atmospheric, haunting jazz are executed just as brilliantly as the momentous black metal segments. The band’s ability to create intricate song structures is certainly commendable, but they can also pull back and write aggressive and straightforward metal with mass appeal, as is the case on “Psychonautic Odyssey”. Even on this less complex track, Aenaon still incorporates their experimental side, and there’s Hammond organ alongside the chugging riffs and blast beats.
Every track has great strengths, and there’s something on this album that will resonate with every listener. Aenaon doesn’t depend on their use of unconventional elements to define their sound, and their appeal is deeply rooted in excellent songwriting and genuine brutality. Cenres et Sang is full of brilliant performances from each member of the band; The rhythm section is crushing and tight throughout dynamic shifts in mood, vocalist Astrous provides commanding mid-range growls, and the guitar work is fantastically versatile.
Any band that combines blackened jazz with David Lynch has my support, and Aenaon concludes their incredible first release with their take on the song “In Heaven” from 1977’s “Eraserhead”. Opening with eerie piano and female vocals, the unsettlingly subdued atmosphere is highly reminiscent of Unexpect. This soon gives way to complete mayhem, and the once-sung lyrics are roared as the decaying walls of sound come crashing down. Toying with the audience’s sanity for five minutes, the piece alternates between these two stark contrasts before the sinister piano fades into silence. “In Heaven” is an absolute masterpiece of a track, and a brilliant example of how a band can take pre-existing material and make it their own.
Aenaon has admirable focus, exceptional musicianship, and magnificent songwriting. While they have certainly been influenced by bands like Emperor, Shining (Norway), and DHG, the group has created an experimental, yet accessible sound that is all their own. After hearing what this band has to offer, I can say without hesitation that Aenaon has boundless potential, and their music is a force to be reckoned with.
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