Review by Michael on November 4, 2023.
I love the fall with the early onset of darkness, the storms and the rain knocking at the window. Together with a tasty drink and a burning wood in the fireplace makes this a pretty nice time but of course you need some adequate music for such an evening. This mustn't be fast stuff, not too brutal and also not too epic. That's where the new Aeternus album The Philosopher joins the game.
Although the band had some hard times and some not too inspiring albums they never gave up and did a very good album in 2018 with Heathen. Having not changed many things in comparison to that you can find some trusted sound marks that make the Norwegian guys so outstanding in that genre. The sonorous voice performed by Ares (this time even with some spoken word parts in the opener) and the dark, rumbling guitar tunes that always remind me a little bit of Bolt Thrower on a valium trip. As a whole the album appears to be very inspired and the band sounds as fresh as they sounded like on their opus magnum …And So The Night Became. What is noticeable is that Aeternus focus a little bit more on some atmospheric elements like acoustic guitars, guitar solos and clean vocals (like in the opener 'Extentialist Hunter') but also some catchier parts as you can clearly hear in 'The Intentionality Of Unmitigated Evil' (what a title!). Whilst the guitars are always very calm and spread some chilling atmosphere, sometimes the drums break out into a real thundering blast beat thunderstorm which fits really perfectly and this is it what gives the seven songs a very special touch and a good pinch of aggressiveness.
So, Aeternus find a really smart and interesting balance between metallic rage and some more heathenish ambient sounds here. Which doesn't mean that they won't surprise you in some parts. 'Void Of Venom' starts like a harmless acoustic intermezzo just to explode within a second with so much fury and rage that it caught me just like “wow, what the hell was that?”. That is a fantastic song that gets me right from the start until it's end because of the highly sophisticated twists and turns. 'The Luciferian Architect' even includes some rocky tunes reminiscent of old Black Sabbath before Lucifer creates a very dense and sinister atmosphere in these tracks with a lot of double bass and really evil vocals by Ares. And again we can find some acoustic guitars and some amazing breaks here that show that Aeternus are back with a vengeance. The album finishes with 'Carving The Pristine Anomie' where the band again shows their skills. This is a wild ride through some dark, blast beating parts, some acoustic intermezzos and some spacey trips peppered with a lot of fantastic and surprising breaks. This is maybe the most diverse song in the whole career of Aeternus.
The Philosopher has truly become a dark metal album and also one of the strongest albums in the long career of the band. If you liked the band before you won't find anything wrong with this one, so grab your copy and see the band on their upcoming European tour this December together with Gorgoroth!
Rating: 9.3 out of 10 poisoned Socrates769