You can always count on Aeon for high-quality, Christ-hating Death Metal. Readers of this site may recall the reverence I have for the band’s 2005 debut full-length Bleeding the False. An anthemic classic from beginning to end, every riff and lyric on the album was memorable and has stood the test of time. However, it is with great sadness that I declare my fear that these Swedes will forever live in the shadow of that masterpiece. Each successive release since it has been slightly less memorable than the one before. As solid a record as it was, two years later I can’t seem to recall a split second of 2010’s Path of Fire, and I believe the same fate will befall Aeons Black. Once again, a great sounding album. The production is immaculate. All of the instruments —including the oft-intelligible, barbed-wire roar of Tommy Dahlstrom— sound fantastic, but even after a dozen repeated listens, nothing sticks. Despite their homeland, Aeon are graduates of the Floridian school of brutal Death Metal, easily bearing the strongest resemblance to Deicide. But just as Deicide have forgotten their once-potent approach to writing memorable DM songs at times, Aeon too have fallen into the same rut of everything sounding same-y. I can’t help but think it’s something they’re aware of, as this time four instrumental segues are strategically planted throughout the eleven cuts in an attempt to break up the monotony, but they only serve to aid the mind-wandering effect. There are a few triumphs here. “Still They Pray” is on par with past glories, with its Bentonesque verse patterns escalating towards the blast-laden hooks of the chorus. “I Wish You Death” is quite the headbanger also, as Dahlstrom vomits on the cross with growl-along conviction, while “Nothing Left to Destroy” could easily pass for some lost gem from the Once Upon the Cross sessions. Sadly, there isn’t much else worth mentioning. So much of Aeons Black sounds like a band trapped in formulaic routine, going through their well-executed motions again and again. Fairly or unfairly, I’m always going to crave another “Morbid Desire to Burn.” Another “Forever Nailed.” Another “God Gives Head in Heaven.” And these are the standards I’ll always judge Aeon by. I only expect what I know they’re capable of. While their filler may blow some bands’ A-game out of the water, it’s filler nonetheless.
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