Sulphur Aeon
Gateway to the Antisphere


3.5
great

Review

by Jacquibim STAFF
April 9th, 2015 | 73 replies


Release Date: 04/03/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sulphur Aeon establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

Upon releasing their debut album Swallowed By The Ocean’s Tide in 2013, Sulphur Aeon struck me as a band with ambition and talent in abundance, but lacking a sense of finesse that would solidify their place in the death metal hall of fame. The album felt claustrophobic in a decidedly negative way, as if ideas were incrementally piling up like paraphernalia under an old staircase. Thankfully, Sulphur Aeon’s sophomore album forgoes the majority of its predecessor’s shortcomings, streamlined in a way that doesn’t sacrifice intensity or atmosphere but rather amplifies them twofold. Gateway to The Antisphere is a significant leap forward for a band that has already shown great promise, and with this new-found sense of direction, the German trio are showing no signs of creative stagnation.

Sulphur Aeon’s overall sound is difficult to summarise, partly due to its diverse make-up, but more so because each descriptor that could be levied at the album carries a set of connotations that don’t necessarily apply to it. For example, the instrumentation is commendably technical, but not once does it come across as ostentatious or overly calculated. Sulphur Aeon’s method of song writing is both fluid and varied, alternating between menacing tremolo assaults, chopped-and-skewed low-end riffage, and lingering passages in which the leads evoke temporary relief while also hinting at the arrival of something more sinister. There is a very strong melodic presence, but it doesn’t succumb to the saccharine stylings of death metal’s softer, younger sibling melodeath. Instead, the use of melody and harmony is depressive and daunting, often remaining unresolved for long periods of time and eking out every last morsel of suspense there is. This tactic is exhibited best in the album’s centrepiece “Diluvial Ascension - Gateway to The Antisphere”, a song consisting almost entirely of a single motif, albeit drastically altered from one sequence to the next.

The atmosphere on Gateway to The Antisphere is rich and palpable, however, it is neither created via deliberate underproduction nor tacky synthetic accents. The extra-dimensional, Cthulhu-spawning mood stems purely from the liquescent arrangements. “Seventy Steps” is a comparatively relaxed number that allows you to hear the nuances at work, and it illustrates that timbral chemistry is just as highly prioritised as speed, complexity and aggression. However, while Gateway to The Antisphere is musically and compositionally superb, it has one notable fault – the production. The mix itself is fine; it’s the mastering that is once again the Achilles heel. The drumming suffers most of all, washing out on occasion and lacking the percussive thump that is so vital to a band of this ilk. This is frustrating because the performance itself is excellent, featuring an array of precise tom fills, intricate cymbal work and, of course, searing double bass. “Titans” and “Onwards… to Kadath!” are the biggest aural offenders, as their climactic finales fizzle out into a haze of frequency clashing. Fortunately, moments like these are brief and infrequent, but they are still enough to leave you wondering what could have been should the album have been given the mastering it deserves.

Notwithstanding the complaints about the production, Gateway to The Antisphere is still one of most enthralling death metal albums of 2015 so far. Their unique blend of melody, technicality, and brutality eschews the common stigmas associated with these terms, and their application to atmosphere is both diligent and authentic. What is most encouraging though, is that while Sulphur Aeon have begun to act on the promise they showed on their debut, their well of potential still feels largely untapped at this point. Watch this space.



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user ratings (129)
Chart.
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Evreaia
April 9th 2015


5070 Comments


I only heard the singles, but those were bitching good, gotta check

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
April 9th 2015


6681 Comments


nice, was peeping this a couple days ago and it sounded solid



Archelirion
April 9th 2015


5639 Comments


That album art is sweet-as. Review was great, and this sounds like it could be right up my street. Really hope the mastering issue doesn't harm it too much for me.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
April 9th 2015


14139 Comments


great review



Digging: Dalek - Absence

DungeonBoy
April 9th 2015


5420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool review, didn't know this came out! pretty stoked about checking this out. Swallowed By The Ocean's Tide was sweet, but maybe a little two dense for it's own good as you mentioned. Glad they're sticking with the Lovecraftian themes, regardless of how over done it may be in metal. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn!

Digging: Vanum - Ageless Fire

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2015


10467 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"are showing no signs creative stagnation."



of* creative stagnation



Nice review. Sold me on the album so I'll try and check it out.

tempest--
April 9th 2015


20629 Comments


What the hell I didn't even know these guys had a new album coming out and I was looking into them just recently!
gonna check

evilford
April 9th 2015


42078 Comments


Nice Rev Jac will chek

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2015


10467 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm digging the debut, need to bookmark their bandcamp so I can hit this up later.

Valkyrion
April 9th 2015


1161 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

album could use a little more diversity in sound but I'd still recommend it to fans of the genre

pedro70512
April 9th 2015


4167 Comments


Hot damn, that album cover

FearThyEvil
April 9th 2015


16748 Comments


their first effort did not impress me much.

titanslayer
April 9th 2015


2713 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was pretty cool, nice review jac

Metaltronic
April 9th 2015


29 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really really loving this. If Leviathan's "Scar Sighted" didn't exist, I'd say that this would probably go down as my metal album of the year. And I prefer the production sounding like this compared to a lot of modern death metal; it's a little muddy and I think it keeps the music from sounding wimpy.

ElegantElephant
April 9th 2015


1391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album art is rad as fuck

Let
April 10th 2015


1608 Comments


Oh word, I remember listening to their debut some time ago. Great review, will check, probably when I start reading At the Mountains of Madness. Now I'm just holding out for Chthe'ilist's debut to satisfy my quench for Lovecraftian metal

Wolfhorde
April 10th 2015


15373 Comments


Why am I not surprised that this is a Wod-Ván band.

TheSpaceMan
April 10th 2015


11811 Comments


album art brought me here [4]

Archelirion
April 10th 2015


5639 Comments


I feel slightly let down by this to be honest - it's OK, but I definitely started losing interest at the end. I dunno whether that was a product of the not-punchy-enough production or the songwriting, I haven't figured out yet.

DungeonBoy
April 10th 2015


5420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally got around to listening to this and it totally rips. Better than than the last and the production is fantastic.



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