Swedish death metal, I mean real Swedish death metal with the legacy of brutality that everyone can identify in the form of (insert your favorite Swedish death metal bands here) lives on in Aeon, a band that hails from Ã–stersund a city in JÃ¤mtland (which is basically in the mountains and towards the Norwegian border). Astersund, while not known for its thriving metal scene, has indeed birthed one of Sweden’s current and most brutal death metal bands who were signed to Metal Blade and released an album a couple of years ago entitled Rise to Dominate which really excited fans of the tech and (more-or-less) brutal styles of death metal. I believe when I was introduced to them the words “fucking ridiculous” were definitely involved somewhere in that conversation.
Now the gritty details: Aeon, if you haven’t heard them before, is not a ground breaking band. Following well in the footsteps of other Swedish bands and, of course, American death metal bands such as Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation and so forth, these guys produce a full frontal aural assault, but they’re not doing anything that is going to win them any trophies in the Angry Metal Guy History of Metal Awards Show. That said, there is much to be said for bands who are producing straight up solid, brutal and interesting material like Path of Fire which bursts out the gate with the line “On your knees you plead / forgiveness DENIED!”
Length-wise, this is a perfect LP record that clocks in at about 41 minutes in length. The tracks are solid, fast and heavy. The downtuned chug often offset by superb soloing and pretty smart songwriting. There is a lot more groove based death metal riffing on this album that I would have expected, and there’s even a couple of Nile-esque filler tracks which add to the very Mesopotamian atmosphere of *cough* EEEVIL! Think: the beginning of The Exorcist what with the demon against the hot sunlight.
That said, there are two major criticisms that I have of this album. Firstly, this album suffers from Drum Replacement Syndrome, (lest mine ears deceive me), which often times takes away from the simple brutality of what death metal is supposed to be. Now granted, these aren’t exactly Fleshgod Apocalypse drums or anything, they sound more realistic than some of the triggered crap that I’ve heard in my day, but there’s definitely some drum tone on here that just is too fucking much for me. Secondly, unless I’m mistaken, Astersund is not overrun by religious nuts who are demanding that the guys from Aeon bow down and worship Jesus. There is a sense, that all this EEEEEvil going on here is kind of just a thematic act that feels a bit stretched thin. Sure, you guys are evil, but Jesus means nothing to the great majority of the Swedish populace, dudes. What the fuck are you rebelling against?
All-in-all though, if you’re a fan of the band or the style you’ll be pleased with this record. The record is chalk full of solid fucking songs that rip your spine out with thick riffs and great brutal vocals. The production, while probably a tad clean, is still thick and the band sounds great. Oh, and the “fucking ridiculous” guitar work is still there with some great solos here, particularly on what I see as the absolute pinnacle of the record “Liar in the Name of God” (which even if you don’t check out the whole album, do yourself and listen to this song because it’s excellent). While Path of Fire might not live up to the sheer excellence of Rise to Dominate, it is definitely a record for these Swedes to be proud of.