Aenaon - HypnosophyIt’s not often that AMG Himself and I get into an online kerfluffle1 about a review. See, I do my best to grab promos from bands I’ve never heard of, hoping that my curiosity turns me on to some great music. For the most part, it succeeds. But there comes a time when Señor AMG gets a taste of a band you’re reviewing and goes completely ga-ga over it. Greece’s Aenaon is one such band, and Hypnosophy, their third album, triggered his penchant towards the progressive and bizarre. And I can see why he wanted to get his mitts on this, as Hypnosophy is an entrancing album.

Things start off innocently enough for the first few seconds of “Oneirodynia,” with spacious guitar arpeggios bleeding into a ferocious blastbeat, with frontman Astrous bellowing and cackling maniacally. Then the saxophones arrive. Yep, much like Sigh and fellow countrymen Hail Spirit NoirAenaon sometimes veer so hard into left-field they are in another ballpark entirely, yet it all works. Also benefitting the song are the sung vocals of guest Giorgos Papagiannakis, who sounds like a sinister Robert Lowe (Solitude Aeturnus), elevating the song to scary heights during the pre-solos while drummer Nycriz flails away like a beast behind him. For the entirety of the song’s seven-minute duration, “Oneirodynia” grips you tight and whisks you away on a horrific, bizarre, and captivating journey into your subconscious.

When Aenaon fires on all cylinders, Hypnosophy pulls you into its colorful world with ease. “Void,” easily the album’s most tranquil song, features some beautiful female vocals that remind me of Anneke Van Giersbergen and Shlomit Levi (ex-Orphaned Land). The opening guitar-and-sax riff of “Fire Walk With Me” lingers well after the song ends. The leads performed by guitarists Anax and Achilleas C. pepper and punctuate Hypnosophy, as every song on here contains at least one memorable solo or melody that sticks out. Closer “Phronesis – Psychomagic” keeps things varied enough to offset its monstrous fifteen-minute run time, with enough curveballs, infectious hooks, and changes to keep your attention engaged.

Aenaon 2016
But what happens when certain riffs and ideas don’t work? Then songs drag themselves further than necessary. “Earth Tomb,” despite containing some bizarre spoken parts by Astrous and a chorus that Ghost would kill Papa Emeritus for, feels too straightforward and plodding in stark contrast to the rest of the album. “Thus Ocean Swells” bumbles a bit due to a comparatively weak chorus, with Papagiannakis sounding strangely like “Sweating Bullets” era Dave Mustaine. Thankfully, the good far outweighs the bad. Also, for an album with a low DR score, Hypnosophy sounds vibrant and alive. The saxophone pops, the bass feels full, and the mix doesn’t feel loud or distorted.

I see why AMG Himself wanted in on this review, as Aenaon hit just enough of the right buttons for me as well. Hypnosophy broke a cardinal rule of black metal… it’s fun. That word stuck out the most during my time with Hypnosophy. Sometimes, a little fun is needed, kvltness and trooness be damned. Yet another band to keep tabs on.

 


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Code666 Records
Websites: aenaon666.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/aenaonofficial
Release Dates: EU: 2016.11.25 | NA: 12.09.2016

Show 1 footnote

  1. Or a slobberknocker, if your inner WWE fan prefers that.

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  • Eli Valcik

    Neat album art

    • CongregationofFoxes

      First thing that I noticed as well!

  • GardensTale

    The sound of not giving a flying fuck about anything but doing your own thing. I like it!

  • Innit Bartender

    Holy Epicurus, there’s so much good stuff coming from Greece lately…

  • Monsterth Goatom

    “Sometimes, a little fun is needed, kvltness and trooness be damned.” That’s going to be my canned answer from now on when someone yet again asks me why I like Gloryhammer.

    • I suppose canned answers are appropriate with canned cheese like Gloryhammer.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Damn, I walked into that one.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Enough of this, I’m going to go stream What Graceless Dawn and see what all the fuss is about (it’s available now y’all).

  • El_Cuervo

    Just a TOUCH long-winded for me by comparison to, say, Hail Spirit Noir but still a rocking album m/

    • Felchmeister777

      Agreee completely. Although…I’m struggling with the latest Hail Spirit Noir album. It’s decent, but so far it’s lacking a certain something. Doesn’t seem to have as much character as their last two…

      • basenjibrian

        What’s weird is I find it having more staying power than the previous two. The only song I keep revisiting off the prior album is Satan is Time (because I like the armchair philosophy!)

  • “Ok, I need you guys to dress up like Mortal Kombat characters and stand by this puddle.”
    –This band’s photographer

    • PanzerFistDominatrix

      Nice one :-)
      I was conjuring up a clever comment on that hilarious band photo, but yours was spot on.

      • Nag Dammit

        is the guy second from left riding a goat?

          • Nag Dammit

            That’s awesome.

          • I’m wondering what’s on his mind. “Fuck, I forgot to put on my shoes, and this rock is bloody freezing”

          • Nag Dammit

            Probably just thinking “why do the other guys look like cool shamen or warriors and I have to skull fuck a goat? I don’t even like Satan or meat? I’m a vegan Christian. I’m not really even into metal. I prefer j-pop.”

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            He pierced a goat skull with his narwhale penis for the band photo…? That is some progressive shit, up there with the saxophones.

          • Oh my (lack of) god. I almost feel like making a new picture manipulation. But the sheer thought of editing a penis picture makes me rather noxious.

          • basenjibrian

            nauseous? Of course, it could also make you noxious depending on the results of this editing.
            LOL. I kid. I kid.

        • Norfair Legend

          I thought he was holding up a pair of panties at first from afar.

        • PanzerFistDominatrix

          Nah, he just read the term skull-fucking on an adult site and decided to metal it up – some real life pornogrind right there…

    • basenjibrian

      You heathens. It’s not a mere puddle….it’s the Puddle at the Gates of Damnation!

  • Lavatron

    They do (and did) everything right, with all the ingredients I like. But still I never got into this band. Same with the embedded track. I really want to like, but it doesn’t click.

  • Niviss

    The embedded track is pretty nice! Sounds almost *funky* at some points

  • I loved their previous album, but I became disappointed by realizing that my feelings toward Hypnosophy were mixed. The expression is a bit splayed, and I’m no big fan of the big-band jazz style they incorporate extensively.
    Nevertheless, this is a very “matter of taste” album that some will come to love. I admire and respect the band, and give them full artistic freedom at my own expanse. Maybe our paths will parallelize again one day.

  • The Unicorn

    Boobies!!!!

  • Treble Yell

    There’s a Garm quality to the singer. Not as good of course (who is?) but I’ll take it all the same.

  • Bart the Repairman

    As for a band that looks like a team from some RPG game, they play surprisingly mature prog. And that SAAAAAX!!!

  • Good stuff

    Blastbeats, sax, shredding solo, passionate vocals, even that weird band pic = 10/10

  • iiixf

    The embedded track sounds like a score to some bizarre ritual and reminds me of Aphrodite’s Child’s 666 in a nicely weird way. And now, all of you dig up Dawn of Dreams or Khaoohs from your dusted archives and listen for some more original metal weirdness. And for some better chameleony you-can’t-pigeonhole-our-music attitude go for Masquerade Infernale. Howgh.

    • Felchmeister777

      Name dropping La Masquarade Infernale and Panthymonium…? Dude…excellent call.

      I miss the latter in a big, big way. Incredible project and their material is every bit as creative, groovy, deep and utterly bonkers as it was 20-25 twenty years ago…

  • Levly

    I discovered this band with their previous record (which I highly recommend, it’s more agressive but still pretty weird and some songs are stunning – check out Der Mude Tod in particular) and I’m happy the good folk at AMG did so too :). This record is very good indeed, although a little bit long-winded and too homogenous to be a masterpiece. Still highly enjoyable, Greece truly has an amazing Black Metal scene.

  • Felchmeister777

    Frustrating album. Great in parts but hindered by some really bland choruses throughout…

  • herrschobel

    why is this even remotely connected to Black Metal ? i mean it´s great after getting used to it but i don´t see the BM connection here