Suspended Between Earth And Sky
Review by Maciek on May 11, 2021.
Finally. 7 years after the release of Penthos we get to hear Ageless Oblivion's third album. I was very curious how they can follow up that great record which had gems like 'Wolf's Head', 'The Midas Throat' or 'Those Who Fed Of Light'. I was wondering how their style would develop, keeping the same, unique approach to death metal and that atmosphere of uneasiness, and lyrics which always match the band's name. Battles that are doomed to be lost or characters cursed to be in an endless torment. But also pointing out self-destructive behavior of humans and their hypocrisy. The third album is also usually a milestone, a clear statement about the band's style and the direction they want to go.
Bearing all that in mind I sat down to listen to their new release. First of all, I was glad I could recognize David Porter's guitarwork, a mixture of one-string melody lines, two-string riffs and chords, bringing together catchy melodies with disharmonies, which in this case works perfectly. The biggest difference being that the sound is so much clearer now, and if I'm not mistaken some good, vintage-sounding amps were used. Ste Jones' vocals have also been brought forward, which allows me to try and understand lyrics without reading them (probably failed in most cases, it's growling after all), while enjoying the wall of riffs in the background with the pulse of Sam Chatterton's bassline. Accompanied with impressive Noah See's drumming, especially blast beats and really good legwork, it creates really solid rhythm section.
The recognizable style has also been enriched by more ideas. Obviously the new sound of the guitars is more vintage, giving 'Anvil Chorus' for example a bit more "tribal" vibe. The slower passages tend to bring more tension to the atmosphere, they get you in a sort of trance, preparing for crushing wall of sound that follows them. We also get to hear more melodic vocals, or rather "melodic growling", which again, sounds different because of a different balance between vocals, guitars and rhythm section on this record. With band keeping their style of death metal with a lot of disharmonies we get some more melodic riffs and chords to accompany them. We get some melody lines which bring some French releases to mind, I think that them going on tour with Svart Crown would be a good match, for example. 'In Medias Res' has those melodies which even reminded me of Aodon a little. And their album wouldn't be complete without one long track and if you ask me, in comparison to 'Temples' and 'Where Wasps Now Nest', 'Eldmessa' definitely shows the band's development and is basically condensed Ageless Oblivion 2021. Or whenever that album was actually written, as according to the band they had it ready for a while, but just finally managed to share it with us now.
To sum things up - my ears really enjoyed this album because of the band keeping their style, but also enriching it with elements that I liked from other bands across all subgenres or micro-genres of metal. The change of sound made quite a difference and to me it was a change for the better. Clearer vocals, each riff can be heard clearly, without putting drums and bass in the back seat. I tried to put some of my favourite tracks here, but then realized I'm listing all of them, so also a good package to listen in whole. And definitely needs few spins before you can taste all flavors.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10262