Monday, January 7, 2013

Album Review: Aetherium Mors - "Drenched in Victorious Blood"

Here on Needs More Noise Gate, we've looked at and reviewed a lot of heavy bands. Thing is, it's not too often that we get to review a band that's not only heavy, but fully captures of evil and demonic traits of yore. The age old and family friendly subjects of Satan-worship and dismantling world religions have been replaced by an obsession with bloodsplattering gore or dystopian sci-fi themes. Don't get me wrong, I love those themes in metal, but I mean, if you're going to skin and dismember someone and then impale their head on a spike in your front lawn, why not do it for the glory of the Horned God? It only makes sense. For those of you who need a little extra convincing, Aetherium Mors have prepared a little exercise in evil for you in the form of their new album, Drenched in Victorious Blood.

Aetherium Mors is a UK-based blackened death metal duo who put a more melodic spin on traditional blackened death. For anyone who is unclear on what blackened death metal is, it's a style of extreme metal that blends the heavy and brutal sound of death metal with the cold, bitter hatred of black metal. The cool spin that Aetherium Mors puts on the traditional formula is that they tend more to old, mid-90s Gothenburg style melodic death metal, a la In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and At the Gates. Mostly fast paced destruction with mid paced bridges and breakdowns, harmonized and melody laden riffs galore, and wicked, fretburning solos. Mixing the already powerful melodic death metal with the blasphemous and frostbitten tendencies of black metal make for a truly terrifying package.

So first, the guitars. Oh man, those guitars. Guitarist (and drummer!) Dan Couch makes At the GatesSlaughter of the Soul sound like the B-sides of this album. The riffs are heavy as balls, pounding your head in one note at a time, but also capture that awe inspiring and empowering feeling that makes a good melodeath riff work. I find the true Gothenburg riffs crop up mostly on the later half of the album, where the first half mostly has more traditional black metal and blackened death metal riffs. I'd be lying if I said I preferred black metal to melodic death metal with respect to the guitars, and while the riffs at the beginning of the album are definitely good, I can't help but love the riffs that turn up later on. That's just me, though. If you are a fan of traditional blackened death metal and black metal riffs, the first three songs offer fresh and original riffs that I guarantee you'll enjoy.

The drums which as I said were also handled by Dan Couch are great as well. He can keep a great thrash beat for the melodeath bits and can both blast and double kick into oblivion and back but I find the drums, while done really well, just don't stand out enough for me to really love them. They do the job, there are some sweet fills, and that's about it. That being said, whoever handled the production of the drums is a champion. The drums sound absolutely awesome. The kicks are massive, but are completely clear in the mix.  When Couch decides to go full speed with his feet, it just caves your head in. I love it.

The vocals on Victorious Blood are delivered by Kane Nelson, who I find much like the drumming, good, but not overwhelmingly great. The growls are nice and thick, but stay mostly in the mid range without too many dynamics throughout the album. Nelson does do the occasional low guttural growl, and they sound downright demonic. I really wish I heard more of those across the album. That being said, Nelson delivers enjoyable vocals nonetheless.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Luciferian March, Kingdom of Shadows, Annihilating Fire

On a Playlist With: Goatwhore, At the Gates, Hypocrisy

Overall Score


Aetherium Mors have made an absolute riff-fest of an album with Drenched in Victorious Blood. Everything else on the album is pretty standard issue, but the guitarwork on this album is just too good to pass up.

You can check out Aetherium Mors on Bandcamp and on the Facespace.

That's all for now, folks! Smoke meth and hail Satan.


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