Sulphur Aeon
Seven Crowns and Seven Seals


4.5
superb

Review

by Vasilis S. CONTRIBUTOR (38 Reviews)
October 12th, 2023 | 136 replies


Release Date: 10/13/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Destroyers of this world.

I still remember the punch in the gut I felt when I first listened to Sulphur Aeon’s ferocious debut “Swallowed by the Ocean's Tide” ten years ago. Like witnessing the talent of world class athletes on their very first steps, the experienced eye (or in this case, ear) should have been able to recognise elements of potential greatness in this band from the start already, but it wasn’t until 2015’s “Gateway to the Antisphere” that a much bigger chunk of the death metal scene noticed their existence. With that album and the follow-up “The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos” that came around three years later, Sulphur Aeon have not only established themselves as one of the most compelling bands in extreme metal, but also they raised a fanbase as strong as their intimidating music.

The front cover of their latest offering “Seven Crowns and Seven Seals” was curated by none other than Paolo Girardi, yet this might come as a surprise to the followers of the band, who know that the artworks of all Sulphur Aeon’s previous albums were done by M., their vocalist / lyricist. As usual, thematics are deeply into the Lovecraftian realms, and the material might hold a few more surprises for the listener, who may or may not vibe with the record, depending on previous feelings on the direction with slower sections and clean vocals that the band followed in “The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos”. Currently, Sulphur Aeon are at a stage where they fully express their compositional ambitions, aiming to deliver a work that constructs a unique atmosphere, is thrilling and evocative, while still carrying their characteristic song-writing approach, especially in its always necessary heavier parts.

It’s exactly these parts that are not completely in the forefront anymore. The colossal riff demolition you would have to face with their first two full length albums, has given way to new soundscapes in the vein of “The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos”, yet it’s clear that Sulphur Aeon would never release the same record twice. Before you lose your mind, of course there’s numerous moments in “Seven Crowns and Seven Seals” that the band speeds up and unleashes massive guitar thunderstorms that you would expect and want to hear from them, populating basically every track in the album. At the same time, half of it is also composed of middle-paced or slower passages, this time pressing on being more epic than constantly oppressive, and the result doesn't lose even a bit of its sensation. This is highlighted, apart from the overall stunning musicianship, by the numerous, magnificent guitar solos that sometimes step in and take the lead in the already, potently melodic tracks (e.g in “Usurper of the Earth and Sea”), as well as the chanting clean vocals in “The Yearning Abyss Devours Us”, which couldn’t have been missing from the record.

In the latter aforementioned track, Sulphur Aeon showcase how easily they can switch from these epic elements to the more ominous, fast-paced heaviness that they owe their success on, and back. An absolute highlight is the sixth and self-titled track, which features Laurent Teubl (Chapel of Disease) and Michael Zech (ex-Secrets of the Moon), no strangers in the Sulphur Aeon ranks. One of the most flamboyant and grandiose pieces the band has ever written, with a clean vocal chorus that’s meant for big stadium audiences, it somehow instantly brings Iron Maiden’s “Moonchild” in mind and closes in an almost heavy / power metal fashion that, I did not expect Sulphur Aeon to execute so well. Also, the piece comes right after “Arcane Cambrian Sorcery”, which, along with “Hammer From the Howling Void”, are the heavier tracks in the album. “Seven Crowns and Seven Seals” closes with a nine-minute long opus “Beneath the Ziqqurats”, another all in all excellent demonstration of the full scope of Sulphur Aeon, with a full-on destructive segment around its sixth minute.

I could imagine how “Seven Crowns and Seven Seals” may alienate the fans obsessed with the band’s earlier and relentless work. It might have too many slower parts, too much clean singing, too much “waiting” and building up, it’s definitely not the constant slapping that was their debut. However, I think this record truly demonstrates what Sulphur Aeon is all about, and possibly what they envisioned for a long time until now, that they made it a reality. A work that is one of a kind, extremely well-thought and delivered, full of impressive moments and overly dynamic as to fully articulate the elevated level that the band has finally reached.



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user ratings (161)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Hawks
October 12th 2023


87974 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fuck yeah!!! Band is amazing. This is their best yet. m///

Pikazilla
October 12th 2023


29778 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

one of the best albums this year

Hawks
October 12th 2023


87974 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Easily. m/

trilo
October 13th 2023


6298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

very excited to jam

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2023


32043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Fuck, I'm hyped.

Pikazilla
October 13th 2023


29778 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

okay, this might be a 5 idgaf

Hawks
October 13th 2023


87974 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It really could be a 5.

ZoddHand
October 13th 2023


229 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lets gooo

ZoddHand
October 13th 2023


229 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what a year for dm so far

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2023


10024 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Oh fuck that end stomp in The Yearning Abyss Devours Us is fucking hnghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh makes the panties drop

Muzz79
October 13th 2023


3069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Woah this is another league for Sulphur Aeon

cloakanddagger
October 13th 2023


732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hyped to listen to this, one of my favourite death metal bands going right now.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2023


32043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I swear I haven't cared as much for dm until this year. Incredibly packed. This is excellent btw.

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2023


644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am usually scared to give a 5 but you guys are right

Elynna
October 13th 2023


1439 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, can't wait to jam this

metalphil
October 13th 2023


730 Comments


First time I've heard of these guys. Enjoying it so far

TheTripP
October 13th 2023


4511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

OH MAN LETS GO WHAT A DAY WHAT A LOVELY DAY

Hawks
October 13th 2023


87974 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Phil their whole discog ripz get on em ahrd.

cloakanddagger
October 13th 2023


732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this rips, death metal aoty for me so far

MoM
October 13th 2023


5994 Comments


Oooh, this looks real good! Definitely going on my list



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