Review Summary: A diverse and engaging album, one of metal’s best in the young year 2017
Aeternam is a band hailing from Quebec, Canada, formed in 2007. Ruins Of Empires is their third album. The band plays death metal in a more melodic style, with influences and a lyrical focus on Middle Eastern and Mesopotamian themes. While this brand of metal is not unique, Aeternam’s take is far from generic. The band’s ability to expand and transform the formula has resulted here in one of the best metal albums of the year thus far.
In terms of genre, melodic death metal is certainly the primary building block on which this album is constructed. However, diverse influences abound and produce a much more exciting result. Aeternam incorporates substantial symphonic elements, as well as Middle Eastern folk and a number of progressive song structures. The results lead to an epic feel, which when coupled with the heavy riffs which reliably populate most of these songs, give the album a cohesive sound which approaches brilliance.
Each one of the album’s nine songs bring merit to Ruins Of Empires. Several stand out, however. Opening track “Damascus Gate” represents the album at its most catchy and melodic. “The Keeper Of Shangri-La” meanwhile emphasizes the folky undertones of the band and album. Album midpoint “Fallen Is The Simulacrum Of Bel” may be the best song of all, encapsulating the fusion of diverse influences which make Ruins Of Empires great. Finally, closing track “Zadyin Arga” ends the album on a worthy high note, as a progressive track which includes one of the album’s more substantial uses of clean vocals.
In the end, Aeternam is a band that has primarily flown under the radar throughout its career, but with this strong release they deserve wider recognition. Ruins Of Empires is a consistent and satisfying journey, and a must listen for anyone with any interest in the more melodic strains of death metal. Inquisitive music fans of all stripes may likely find something to appreciate from it as well.