I was a fan of Norway’s Aeternus in the late ’90s, back in the days of their Beyond the Wandering Moon and …and So the Night Became albums. Their early material was often described as Black Metal, but I always considered them an Atmospheric Death Metal band. Ares, the vocalist/bassist (he played guitar on the older albums), always used the Death growl instead of screaming like his nuts were in a vice, so I never lumped Aeternus in with the rest of the Norwegian scene, even though he did play in a number of Black Metal bands. I kind of lost track of them over the years, and when I heard that they were going to release a new record, I was interested in hearing how they’d evolved. It had, after all, been close to a decade since I’d last heard Aeternus. I even saw ads saying that they were returning to their Dark Metal roots. After having listened to …and the Seventh His Soul Detesteth, I have to say that the idea that Aeternus returned to their roots on this LP shows a lack of knowledge about the band’s history and their back catalog. This LP really lacks a lot of the atmosphere that the older albums had. There are some good acoustic interludes, but the songs themselves are mostly straight-forward Death Metal. I was pretty disappointed by that because what I liked about Aeternus was the atmospheric element that they brought to their music. The first release version of this CD also contains the band’s long out of print 1995 debut EP, Dark Sorcery, as bonus tracks. Of all of the songs on this LP, I actually liked the Dark Sorcery tracks the best. The Dark Sorcery tracks sounded a bit dated and the recording was definitely not as powerful as the newer stuff, but even with that, they had that missing atmosphere that I really wanted to hear. While their straight-forward Death Metal songs are competently executed, they weren’t anything special. Without the atmospheric element, Aeternus has completely lost the thing that made them stand out from the crowd. They may as well be a Morbid Angel tribute band at this point. Maybe one of these days Aeternus will truly rediscover their roots. I’ll be waiting for that. This particular incarnation of Aeternus just leaves me cold.
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