Æther Realm - One Chosen by the Gods
Æther Realm is a melodic death/Viking/folk metal band from Greenville, North Carolina and “One Chosen by the Gods” is their first album.
I came across these guys recently while seeking out new music, possibly on Bandcamp, and right away I knew I needed to get this album. They may be from North Carolina, but they sound like they could be next door neighbors to Amon Amarth. During the week Johan might come over to borrow a whetstone and an extra bear skin, and on the weekends they could plunder coastal villages together.
As a first album “One Chosen by the Gods” sounds absolutely brilliant. Not to blaspheme Amon Amarth, but I don’t recall them sounding this good on their first album. The production sound is all that I could ever ask for. The music is bright and clear while maintaining a thick, heavy punchiness. The vocals, which are harsh but enunciated well, are perfectly mixed so they are not overpowered by the music. This is a shining example of how much power can be generated by a quality production sound.
I dug this album so much I had to stop in the middle of this review, go to their online storefront, and buy a t-shirt. Expect to see me donning their battle gear in future Metal Disciple videos.
Everything I can find points to these guys being unsigned. That this album sounds as amazing as it does without any label support just blows my mind. Well done sirs! Any label could swoop in and release this album as it is and consider themselves lucky to have it. I am very impressed.
Do not miss out on “One Chosen by the Gods.” Head over to iTunes, Amazon or Bandcamp and get this album. Here is the title track to help convince you. Raise your swords to Æther Realm!
Dei Aemeth – Apotheosis
Dei Aemeth is, in their own words, an “avante-garde metal, progressive metal or wizard metal” band from Dallas, Texas and “Apotheosis” is their first album.
I must agree that I have a hard time confining Dei Aemeth to a single corner of the metal pantheon. There is a death metal aspect from the heavy music and harsh vocals, but there are definitely progressive elements and parts that I suppose I can attribute to the catch-all avante-garde. To be certain, this is not your typical-every-day-ordinary metal album. As I started listening to the album I thought it was going one way, but then they would go somewhere else that I wasn’t expecting, all without getting too weird. Consider my attention grabbed.
Is it me or is there a lot of cool fucking metal coming out of Texas these days?? It seems like in the 90s Pantera must have spread their seed around the state and now the crop of new metal is ready to harvest. And it’s not like they all sound the same either; there is a wide range of styles: Dei Aemeth, The Sword, Vesperian Sorrow, Texas Hippie Coalition. The list goes on.
Leg-humping the Lone Star State aside, make sure you check out Dei Aemeth on Swimming With Sharks Records. “Apotheosis” is anything but a typical death metal album. I think you will enjoy it.
Here is the lyric video for “Tide of Devourment.”
Haiduk – Spellbook
Haiduk is a death metal band from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and “Spellbook” is their first album.
In some ways “Spellbook” is more of a traditional death metal album than today’s previous two bands, but traditional does not have to mean typical. Haiduk does not have the Viking/Folk trappings of Æther Realm, or the experimental nature of Dei Aemeth; rather “Spellbook” is focused, concentrated darkness.
Haiduk is a one-man project created by Luka Milojica. Sometimes you can really tell when an album is the product of one person (for example anything from my terrible body of recorded work) and sometimes the lone mastermind pulls off an album of material that sounds no different than that produced by a full band. “Spellbook” is one of the latter; had I not known this was the work of one man, I would have expected a full band. Kudos on making it all work seamlessly.
“Spellbook”, while death metal in nature spends a lot of time focusing on the music. There are long instrumental passages that I don’t normally associate with death metal, which help the album stand out in my mind. This is not the mindless, slavering violence of a diabolic force, but more like a sinister and brooding darkness which is biding its time until the moment is right for unleashing its vengeance upon the world.
I am quite impressed with Haiduk’s first offering. The songs are interesting and the production is far above average death metal style music. I recommend giving “Spellbook” a listen. Here is the track “Black Wind” to get you started.
Ajana – Home in Decay
Ajana is German metal music project with doom influences and “Home in Decay” appears to be the first full-length album.
The sparse bio I received indicates that Ajana is a solo project with extra session musicians, but that the vocals and music are written by Ajana herself. I looked around online trying to find a little more information and was amused to find a review by someone else who was equally in the dark about the finer details of Ajana. Ah well, it was a nice looking bio sheet, if not overly specific.
Who cares about that stuff anyway, right? If the music can stand on its own that is the important thing. So let’s talk about the music. The music is mid-tempo and heavy with a thick and lush production. If I like nothing else about the album, I like the music. The vocals, however, are also really good. Ajana sings in a clean and sometimes haunting voice.
I’ve been saying how not-typical the albums are today, and that trend continues with “Home in Decay.” Ajana has produced an album that is almost nothing like what I have come to expect from the “typical” female fronted metal band, and I am very pleased. The well-produced music along with the beautiful vocals guarantees that this is an album that I will be coming back to for repeat visits.
Check out Ajana and “Home in Decay.” Here is the song “Grey.”