Review Summary: Aethere create one of the strongest debuts out there, and absolutely dominate their entire genre.
Deathcore has become a stale genre. Anyone will tell you that. Most people will point to bands like Bring Me The Horizon, Suicide Silence, and Emmure as reasons to never even listen to a band labeled as core. However, there is always the rare occasion in which a band comes along and does something truly interesting and powerful with the genre. Between the Buried and Me, Periphery, and the like are the type of bands I'm talking about. And sure enough, just in time for the summer, here come Aethere to destroy them all.
Aethere are a small band from Santa Cruz, CA who think really really big. On their debut album, Wave Existence,
they have created a masterpiece of progressive deathcore. Imagine if Periphery's album didn't drag forever, or if Between the Buried and Me had kept their original aggression when they began to work in the extreme technicality of their later work, and you've got Aethere. Their songwriting is absolutely top-notch, bringing in insanely technical riffs and drum parts when it needs to (the title track), utilizing melody when called for ('Oblivion'), and never forgetting to add in a few dashes of simple brutality ('Id').
Guitarist Garrett Wasson wields his 8-string mammoth with intimidating talent, ripping through blisteringly fast solos on the title track, delivering heavily downtuned breakdowns on 'Id,' and allowing for more space in songs such as 'Forged Within.' It's really difficult to praise the guitar-work on this album enough. Garrett hits every note perfectly as they zip by at lightning speed, creating the kind of impressively technical melodicism rarely seen in Aethere's peers, he really manages to blow just about every other guitarist in the genre out of the water without ever dissolving into pointless wanking.
But that's not to say that Garrett Wasson's guitars upstage the rest of the band, not by a long shot. Bassist Seph Herrera supplements the 8-string mastery with some quick fingers of his own on a 6-string bass, bolstering Aethere's low end perfectly. He consistently holds the band down perfectly, creating a powerful and hard-hitting rumble that the other instruments amply anchor themselves around. And when he's given his little chances to shine such as the short bass solo bits in 'Forged Within,' it's pretty difficult to not be thoroughly impressed.
Drummer Josh Slater further ups the ante, taking what the duo of Garrett Wasson and Seph Herrera have to offer and helping it along with one of the most jaw-dropping drum performances out there. Through constant time signature shifts, ludicrously fast fills, and simply relentless songs, Josh Slater really gives it his all. The insanely fast breakdown patterns in 'Id' are enough to be amazed, but he takes it all to a whole new level on tracks like 'Wave Existence' and 'Welltall' with ridiculously fast, almost-illogically technical drum patterns, but can absolutely slow things down when he needs to, and even throws in a few semi-tribal drum sections.
Of course, many bands are made or broken by their singer, and I can safely say that vocalist Cody Canales adds nothing but positivity to Aethere's already massive sound. His guttural voice rips through all the crazy instrumentation with passion rarely seen in the deathcore genre. He is never overbearing, lays off when need be, and comes in, guns blazing, when the time is right. His vicious growl is consistently powerful, mighty, and simply huge.
Helped along by the absolutely spot-on production of Marcus Wade, Aethere have truly created a masterwork with Wave Existence.
This is the type of songwriting and talent that would be amazing coming out of a top-notch band well into their career, but coming from a virtual unknown band on their debut album, it's impossible to ignore. The potential here is simply ridiculous, but even in the present, Aethere are working on a level above and beyond that of almost all of their peers. Don't miss this album, because there's nothing like it out there.