Release DetailsLABEL Metal Blade Records
RELEASED ON 11/20/2012
On one hand, the continued propulsion of this brand of death metal can be viewed as testament to its importance. There's an audience for it.
Aeon's career trajectory is something of an extended plateau. Their debut, Bleeding the False, shot them to notoriety, and not just due to the juvenile blasphemy of "God Gives Head in Heaven" and its crudely hilarious gospel-country rendition. ("Heaven is for faggots," indeed.)
No, songs like "Satanic Victory" and "Doorknocker" were legitimate bangers, largely powered by Nils Fjellstrom's freak-footed assault. Bleeding the False showed a lot of promise. Expecations were high.
Seven years and three albums later, Fjellstrom is gone, along with the band's sense of humor. On Rise to Dominate and Path of Fire, Aeon simply stuck to the basics of their sound, which is pretty basic to begin with: total Cannibal Corpse / Deicide worship, with the weight of each band's influence shifting slightly from track to track. Yes, they've honed their production values and tightened up their pacing over the years, but in all, they've just spent the better part of a decade blowing a glass ceiling for themselves.
Aeon's Black is loaded with their familiar tropes, but they've been wrapped in what's arguably their sexiest package to date. The production is freaking colossal (...if Bleeding the False had this guitar tone? Whew.), and Tommy Dahlström's soaking-wet roar has never sounded sicker. But after the first track perks 'em up, the second track dives willfully into tedium. "The Glowing Hate," a tiresome, laborous song that's apparently about, uh, hating something, will have most death metal veterans reaching for something fresher.
The title track is another egregrous example of Aeon's stagnancy, pedestaling the phrase "Where's your saviour? / Where's your god?" as if In Torment In Hell was some kind of cultural touchstone.
Even if you still harbor a tolerance for base-level blasphemy delivered without a shred of self-awareness, one can't look past the fact that this type of death metal has been hashed, rehashed, and re-rehashed for damn near twenty years. Aeon isn't even novel in being Scandinavian Florida fetishists--Blood Red Throne was knocking this stuff around a half-decade before Bleeding the False.
On one hand, the continued propulsion of this brand of death metal can be viewed as testament to its importance. There's an audience for it. Each mini-generation of metalheads will land on this type of band for a brief period at some stage of their listening arc.
Theoretically, then, a serviceable dose of frill-free, regular-ass death metal is a welcome addition to the market every few years. However, as Aeon continues to expose themselves as a band only capable of conjuring a handful of quality riffs over the course of a fifty-minute album, their value diminishes. With each passing effort, their schtick wears thinner, even if as the production gloss is slathered thicker. It might be time for a new act to pick up the torch for the hot dog / mac-and-cheese crowd.
Or maybe, those target-market death metal cruisers should just pick up a copy of Bloodthirst and ask themselves what fourteen years of death metal evolution should sound like.