Aeon of Horus – Existence (Self-Released)

Thursday, 20th March 2014
Rating: 8/10

If there is one country whose floodgates have been opening up over the past few years with some truly great material, it’s Australia.  This year alone, we’ve already heard some strong material from country-mates Vanishing Point and Valtari (among others).  For anyone into death metal, be sure to add Aeon of Horus to the growing list of Aussie’s finest exports.

Existence is Aeon of Horus’ second album, following up 2008’s The Embodiment of Darkness and Light (there was an EP in that between space in 2011).  Not to take anything away from the band’s sound, the easiest descriptor would be to take the sound of Scar Symmetry, scrap the clean vocals, up the heaviness, and add some ambient and subtle jazz to the mix.  Existence comes across as quite progressive and technically proficient, yet the ever-present keyboard and ambient presence assures that there’s plenty of emphasis shifting gears to provide actual “songs” instead of a jarring blend of patched together moments.  The vocals have mid-range roar to them, somewhat reminiscent of early Arch Enemy’s Johan Liiva (though with a bit more range).  Lastly, the production is truly great, allowing all instruments to be heard and given enough space (even a very present bass).

The songs feel quite accessible, considering the diverse range of influences and experimentation.  Things can feel quite pummeling, only to quickly draw back to a gorgeous melody (“Symbiosis”), subdued jazz (“Radiate”) or moment of ambience (“Release”).  Whatever the escape mechanism, the transitions are never awkward and give the songs some needed depth and character.

Existence should be enough to put Aeon of Horus on the map for anyone who has not yet discovered them.  Their blend of the technical and the ambient is expertly handled and seems they are about ready to take things to the next level with the right label behind them.

Aeon of Horus official site