Review Summary: Featuring a fierce and haunting production, the album is hampered by a lack of ambition, but is sure to please die-hards of the black metal scene.
Aetas Cineris, Latin for Age of Ashes or Ashen Age, is a solid album from the black metal underground. Featuring a fierce and haunting production, the album is hampered by a lack of ambition, but is sure to please die-hards of the black metal scene.
The guitars on the record have a very modern, polished sound. This lends the frequent tremolo runs a shimmering of melancholy. Sometimes, the guitar is heard in a rhythmic context, playing chords and creating turnarounds for the other layers to build upon. Unfortunately, they just don’t. The record also features a mix of glossy cleans and soft synths, working in tandem to produce a soft symphonic sound above the mix. The album is at its strongest during ambient instrumental sections and interludes, which work well to capture feelings of sorrow. One aspect of these moments is the presence of a vibe of a reflective or introspective nature, which sets them apart from the rest of the album. The drumming is very tight and controlled, and impresses with a bombastic blast-beat centric output, but would benefit from more ambition, particularly in the vein of fills.
The project is fronted by the ex-vocalist of Nocte Obducta
, and the experience he brings helps him serve a fantastic role, knowing just when to step forward and when to give the other musicians opportunity. Unfortunately, his voice, while authentic, is flat and a tad uninspired, though that is probably due to the production. The album would also benefit from him aiming to fill spaces with more drawn-out vibes (ala longer screams) than his usual style of barking. This syncopated approach is unique to the genre, but just doesn’t serve the style as well as it could.
Aetas Cineris is a fine record from a band with tremendous promise, but the polish is dulling what could be a very effective weapon. Bombastic and menacing, and presenting a nice variety of moods, Aetas Cineris lacks ambition, and the best moments are a tad scattered.