Aeternam - MoongodThe point of Things You Might Have Missed is to point out great records we didn’t cover in time, which wasn’t exactly the case with Tenacious D, but definitely is the case with Aeternam‘s 2012 offering Moongod. We never received promo of this record ahead of time – but it appears to have been released in October. Ostensibly, we didn’t receive this because these guys aren’t on Metal Blade anymore, instead being released on Galy Records. Fortunately one of the members of the band reached out to me with promo because I had enjoyed the band’s debut Disciples of the Unseen pretty fiercely when it was released. Moongod is really not a continuation of Disciples of the Unseen having developed in maturity and sound (also cover art), as well as having grown into a new context: “Oriental Metal”.

Say what you will, but Orphaned Land changed everything. They have become the new standard for what is awesome in the scene and have done a good job of pulling others in their direction. But between similar influences (melodic and progressive metal), Aeternam is far more of a melodic death metal band than a progressive band in the veins of Orphaned Land. In a sense, they remind me of Myrath – but with balls. This is mainly because neither band has embraced traditional instrumentation, folk music and orchestration in the same way as their Israeli counterparts, instead fitting their oriental influences to their metal – adding subtle variations on themes that show up across the board in heavy metal [It’s worth noting, however, that both Myrath and Aeternam are using more traditional instrumentation on their latest releases; IMO a nod to Orphaned Land‘s success – see tracks: “Cosmogony” and “Iram of the Pillars” for a confirmation AMG]. Opening track “Moongod” is a great example of this, ripping out the door with an At The Gates riff that is simply shaded “Arabic” with note choices; this is much more in line with what we’ve been used to in the metal scene.

Aeternam - Band 2012

And because Aeternam isn’t breaking against the mold too hard, Moongod is an easily digestible piece of oriental melodic death metal. The sounds are often epic, such as the opening strains of the album, or closing track “Hubal, Profaner of Light,” but it doesn’t take long for the band to find its way to a brutal blast that sounds more like Melechesh than Myrath. It should satisfy your desire for blasts, your desire for speed and epicness while still invoking the melodic side, such as with excellent clean vocals that punctuate songs like “Descent of Gods” and “Invading Jerusalem” or my favorite “Cosmogony.” These moments when the band drops back into melodic choruses or vocal parts are some of the highlights for me, reminiscent of Dimmu Borgir in the early 2000s with Simen’s vocals often carrying a lot more water than we maybe realized at the time.

What’s cool about Aeternam is how they weave it all together and make it cohesive, unique and familiar all at the same time. One can invoke MelecheshOrphaned LandMyrath and Dimmu without breaking a sweat, but never feel like the band is too reliant on any one element or that they’re derivative. This makes for a record that’s easy to fall into and enjoy out of the case, but also a record that’s interesting enough to appreciate in the long run, which gives it staying power. A must have. Mea culpa that we didn’t get to it earlier.

Tracks to Check Out: “Cosmogony,” “Descent of Gods,” and “Rise of Arabia”.

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  • hendrik

    Aeternam really stepped up and got to an even higher level with this one! Absolutely love it, it takes balls to pull of the style that they’ve been able to create here and there excellent musicians.

    Like Dimmu borgir and some other bands, they have been able to create an album, instead of a collection of songs, live it. I’m putting this album on my short list… (sorry to be so positive, but still, give credit where credit is due)

  • Colin Stuart

    Awesome! I grabbed this shortly after it came out and was hoping you guys would touch on it. I feel just about the same way, although it’s even better because they are Canadian!

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  • Heres my review from my own personal blog of this album. I ranked it #12 on my best albums of 2012:

    Canada’s Aeternam is a pretty obscure band, even for me, and the fact that its even on this list means it pushed other great albums by more established bands like Blind Guardian and Paradise Lost off the list.

    Frankly, I can’t remember how I even found this album, but I am glad I did. Aeternam is a triumphant and symphonic power metal band with middle eastern influences, crunchy and heavy guitars and a combination of mostly melodic death vocals, sprinkled with some straight up quality melodic clean singing. They’re kinda like a cross between Orphaned Land, Symphony X, and any number of melodic death bands. Is that enough adjectives to catch your curiosity? Well, it surely got mine. From the albums first track, “Moongod”, to the very last “Hubal, Profaner of Light”, this album rocks from start to finish. I think the thing that really drew me to this album was how unique it is. I tend to like music that’s different, and doesn’t sound like other things out there, and that describes this album perfectly.

    If you’re looking for an album that won’t sound like much else in your collection, I strongly recommend you get this.

  • Abhi Shek

    “..In a sense, they remind me of Myrath – but with balls.”

    “.. More like Melechesh than Myrath..”

    My thoughts exactly when I stumbled upon their music too! m/