Review Summary: Can an album be completely generic and still good? Apparently it can.
There wasn’t anything special about Black Sun Aeon’s debut. It was a good collection of doom/death songs that barely avoided being just another generic metal album, but that was it. Due to the sketchy nature of the debut, a second album was definitely going to have to do more than just rehash the same tired formula in order to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, if Routa
is any indication, the band never got the memo. Black Sun Aeon’s sophomore album basically rehashes the debut’s already tired formula, with only a few minor updates worth noting.
A quick look at every aspect of this release should already let the average listener know what to expect. Beginning with the plain cover and moving on to the standard song titles, no one should be expecting anything ground breaking. Just in case anyone missed the total abundance of clues, though, the band goes ahead and makes their lack of innovation completely obvious on opening track “Core of Winter”. That song begins with your typical layer of melodic keyboards resting over a riff that completely lacks any real identity. Eventually, as you might suspect, the band introduces a melodic guitar lead and some typical unremarkable clean vocals juxtaposed with death growls. It should be stressed that the song itself isn’t terrible but it isn’t very entertaining either.
This tendency for the band to utilize completely generic elements to create songs that are just barely worth listening to is a common thread throughout the album, and is ultimately what keeps it from being great. The album simply has too many sections where the band seems to lose direction, and the clean vocals are always guaranteed to drop the quality of whatever they’re placed over. Despite these negatives, there are a few things worth mentioning, though. The main one would be the band’s increased use of black metal elements in some of their songs. These few songs (including the title track) that pick up the tempo and inject a black metal influence into the riffs are the only great songs on Routa
. The rest of the album is a collection of generic songs that occasionally introduce a really strong riff or guitar melody before returning to a more standard sound.
For those people that listened to the debut and found enough to keep their interest, there may very well be enough here to do the same. The album does seem to have an uncanny ability to introduce something enjoyable just as it seems as if the song is beginning to really flounder, but is that enough? The most probable answer is, ‘no’. The album is good and it occasionally will introduce a really great section, but the negatives always bog things down in the end. It’s a fact that not even the increase in aggression as the album progresses can fix. Routa
definitely makes it clear that the band have potential, but it also makes it clear that they don’t seem very inclined to make use of it very often.