Aethereus – Leiden (Review)

Aethereus - LeidenAethereus are a death metal band from the US and this is their second album.

Leiden is a 55-minute death metal monstrosity that blends technical, progressive, and dissonant elements together into a very impressive package. The band’s Facebook page describes them as for fans of Obscura, Beyond Creation, and Gorguts, and that’s a good starting place from which to approach Leiden.

This is modern death metal with a melodic flair and a taste for sci-fi synths. Aethereus have an unusual talent for merging bright melodies with dark dissonance; it probably shouldn’t work, but it does remarkably well.

The band’s aggressive brutality is complemented by an ability to provide the listener with real heaviness and a grand selection of choice riffs. Juxtaposed against this are emotive elements provided by the synths and expressive melodies. Underpinning everything is a technicality that enables, rather than obscures, and a progressive sense of songwriting that allows the songs to take the listener to all kinds of far away places. And of course, lurking constantly around the corner is a dissonant darkness that threatens to overwhelm, but never actually does.

Because of the above, Leiden is an interesting and engaging album. It has a surprising amount of layers to explore, providing instant gratification as well as a longer lasting appeal. It’s cleverly written, not only at the level of the individual track, but also from a holistic album perspective; as the album progresses the melodic aspects give way more and more to the dissonant ones, drawing the listener into an ever darkening journey.

Yes, this has impressed. Fans of modern technical death metal should take note of what Aethereus are up to here.

Highly recommended.

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