Ethereal Riffian
Aeonian


4.5
superb

Review

by Finbar USER (23 Reviews)
January 25th, 2014 | 163 replies


Release Date: 01/20/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The most head-banging meditation you'll ever experience.

With a name like "Ethereal Riffian", you know you're in for either the most lame, derivative kind of psychedelic stoner rock or a trail-blazing, mind-altering experience.
Luckily, this is the latter.

The band's second LP Aeonian is a concept album of four stages, with only one song under 10 minutes in length. It begins with the explosion of crushing heaviness 'Thugdam (Sensation)', then moving through the crescendo of crushing heaviness 'March of Spiritu (Rise of Sheol)' into the oscillating chilled-out ambience and crushing heaviness of 'Wakan Tanka (Awareness)' and finally into the culmination of psychedelia and crushing heaviness of 'Anatman (Oneness)'.
You may notice a certain theme here and a chance for the music's sheer power to become repetitive, but in reality, it is the heaviness of the album that creates its biggest merits.
Clearly the band is angling at creating some kind of meditative experience for the listener (hell, they've even written a book with an entire narrative to supplement the music) and whereas we are used to the idea of meditation being calm and relaxing, Aeonian will give you a different kind of alleviation.

Every track features the abstract vocals that you'd expect a Tibetan monk to sound like if he decided to start a stoner-doom band, which in one of the first track's quiet moments, even surround the music with gentle hums of "Om," the apparent natural pulse of the universe. In another band, the vocals would easily be the weakest part of the music but here they excellently contrast the heaviness with a comfortable, chilled-out feel.
Ethereal Riffian are masters of atmosphere, with the third track beginning with a build up of tribal drums and didgeridoo, reminiscent of their debut Shaman's Visions, and the final track even brings to mind the beginning of Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond through its guitar-work.

The band's strongest point is definitely in this twin guitar use, with the best track Wakan Tanka particularly bursting with interlocking, screaming solos while the rhythm section creates some of the band's most mind-bending grooves. The drumming is another stand-out, making heavy use of the double-bass pedal and shifting time signatures, managing never to get lost in the mix which shows particularly masterful production, especially with such heavy music.

The problem you can see arising is that the band have reached a peak with Aeonian and have pretty much exhausted what they can create from this style of 'crushing heaviness', which they had been perfecting since their debut. Therefore, if they want to avoid falling into the trap of monotony by making Aeonian mk. II, Ethereal Riffian are going to have to expand into some new sonic territory on their next album.

However, at this stage no stoner fan will be disappointed since the album is overflowing with brilliant riffs, and also admirably it never strays into the ugly distortion that similar, marijuana-promoting bands such as Bongzilla and Sleep get lost in. In fact, Ethereal Riffian are not, at any point, promoting drug consumption, but if you listened to this album while on enough LSD, you'd see those vibrant colours exploding out of your chest.



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user ratings (80)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mad.
January 25th 2014


3981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Entire album streaming here: http://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/

This is definitely gonna be one of the best psychedelic/progressive/stoner/doom/sludge albums of the year.
Their similar debut and mostly atmospheric EP are definitely worth a check too.

Criticism welcome!

Mad.
January 25th 2014


3981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Look at the artwork

Mad.
January 25th 2014


3981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah well, I've seen people say it does look like him. I'll change it then *grumble*

Mad.
January 25th 2014


3981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like the new one better anyway.
For anyone who wanted to know, the old summary was:
"If it's blown Justin Bieber's mind, it'll blow yours too."

Mad.
January 25th 2014


3981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Judging by your taste you'd definitely dig this. Give it a go!

Mad.
January 25th 2014


3981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They're all awesome but Wakan Tanka is my favourite, March probably a close second

Mad.
January 25th 2014


3981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've never actually heard Om but it doesn't surprise me, they even say "om" in Thugdam lol

Mad.
January 25th 2014


3981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Will defo check, sounds like my kind of thing. Make sure you give this some more listens, maybe your rating'll go up

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2014


10874 Comments


Good review bro sounds interesting.

Just remember that song titles should be in quotes and album titles should be italicized. And know when to end your sentences. For example:

"It begins with the explosion of crushing heaviness 'Thugdam (Sensation)', then moving through the crescendo of crushing heaviness 'March of Spiritu (Rise of Sheol)' into the oscillating chilled-out ambience and crushing heaviness of 'Wakan Tanka (Awareness)' and finally into the culmination of psychedelia and crushing heaviness of 'Anatman (Oneness)'."

That is too long. Maybe split this up into two or three sentences?

Mad.
January 25th 2014


3981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah that sentence is too long lolol but I was kind of trying to describe the 'journey' of the album in one sentence. I'll see what I can do

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2014


3452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love the artwork and the limited edition. It makes me wanna buy it, but I don't have the money at the moment. The music sounds cool and the review is good, pos. Hopefully it'll get featured.

Digging: The Ting Tings - Super Critical

Mad.
January 25th 2014


3981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm a big fan of the artwork and I want one of those limited editions as well.
Have you listened yet?

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2014


3452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's good. I like Anatman and Thugdam most. The former is a really strong album closer. It sums the band up pretty well.

Gyromania
January 25th 2014


15941 Comments


good review - just separate the first and second paragraphs

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Cygnatti
January 25th 2014


21353 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album cover rules.

Calc
January 25th 2014


12252 Comments


this riffs pretty damn well good find Madman

greenpaintedcement
January 25th 2014


4 Comments


This has some of the worst artwork I've ever seen.

Ending
January 25th 2014


1917 Comments


This sounds super interesting.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2014


8371 Comments


Album cover is pretty bad, as is the band name, but checking this out for sure.

Gyromania
January 25th 2014


15941 Comments


i actually kinda like the album cover. it's so colourful



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