Review Summary: A somber and atmospheric piece of classical music and prog metal.
I’m not sure how I ended up stumbling upon this 37 minute EP, as it currently remains very underground. It only took one listen for me to know that this album is something special. It’s the kind of album that is perfect for a certain kind of mood. The kind of mood that craves a certain melancholy and atmospheric aesthetic that is able to establish a deeper emotional connection. This is what is provided in the lost 2020 gem Aeipathy, and it’s something I’ve been more or less looking for for a while now.
This album is something real, delicate, and beautiful. The way the compositions are pieced together is somewhat minimal, but there was a lot of thought and emotion that went into the crafting of this piece. In essence, this is a piano and cello heavy album with three instrumental songs. Each song delivers an amazing atmosphere with a deep audio mix and great instrumental clarity. If you are willing to isolate a time away from all the bustling noise of everyday life and devote a clear time and space for this album, the payoff delivers on a very satisfying and alleviating experience that leaves you wondering what is coming from Carnatia next.
Carnatia is a very fresh and new band, both in terms of the year they started making music, as well as the modern soundscape that they bring to the table. An interesting thing is that they are from Turkey. The country has had some influential metal bands in the past, however, for the past fifteen years or so, from what I can tell from RateYourMusic, their progressive metal scene seems kind of dead. The successful traditional prog metal band Comma has not released an album since 2001, and the progressive thrash metal band Pentagram had taken up a hiatus after their 2002 album Bir. Essentially, Carnatia seems to be a forming oasis in a metaphorical desert of metal by taking up the mantle to pull the Turkish prog metal scene into this new era of music.
In contrast, Aeipathy has a sound that has a ton of classical roots in its musical composition, but it is created and synthesized with metal in a way that I have not really come across before. Additionally, this is an album that especially needs to have a clean and crisp quality in production, or else the bulk of their world-building, if compressed flat, will certainly not deliver an intimate experience with the listener; the band members must have kept this in mind when mixing the album because all the instruments sound excellent. The way the album sounds is something that I can only really compare to cold morning air, the smell of dew, and a vast open landscape where the sound is able to echo around the open space.
There are two songs on this album that are written as traditional progressive metal pieces, where there are well-written verses and choruses that are reminiscent of something off of a Riverside album. The vocal style often has the emotional hints of Einar Solberg from Leprous which is something that goes well with this style of music. What the other instrumental tracks offer is what I find makes this album most unique, is that they are composed equally as traditional classical songs as they are as metal songs. What I mean by this is that they incorporate instruments like cello, and piano to create their longer introspective moments that build-up to their more intense metal counterparts. And they do this in a way that feels incredibly organic, like metal and classical compositions were always meant to go together.
An example of this is the longest song on the album “The Blue Will Never Be Born Tonight” where they spend the first 5 minutes delivering on a beautiful instrumental duet between its piano and cello, and build up to a transition where they give the torch to a dark and incredibly textured guitar tone, which builds up a riff combined with dissonant synths and crisp rhythmic drums. The song then builds up to an emotional guitar solo followed by a gritter version of the previous guitar riff delivered along with intense blast beats and a subtle but effective symphony. It is hard to emphasize enough how effective this crescendo is pulled off, as it uses the tension that had been building up during the rest of the song to release its energy on a very impactful climax.
The album is not super technical all around like what you’d expect from something like Dream Theater, but the progressive tag comes from how they write and structure these unconventional songs, along with the way they combine musical elements of classical music and jazz to create a higher dimension of musical sound. Their instrumental deliveries are very thoughtful and executed effectively; the drumming, the riffs, and the guitar solos are all excellent. And the classical instruments do well to establish emotion that resonates with the listener. Overall, this is a little gem of an EP that I would check out if you are a fan of bands I previously mentioned, if you like albums that mix metal and classical music, or are into the tempo and atmosphere of post-rock. If any of these apply to you, don’t miss out on this album.