Aeon – Aeons Black (Metal Blade Records)

Wednesday, 27th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Inexorably linked with Deicide for most likely the remainder of their career, Swedish death metal battalion Aeon have at least one thing going for them that Glen Benton and buddies don’t: consistency. While Deicide have been consistency inconsistent, Aeon have been consistently consistent, turning vintage, God-hating Floridian death metal into their own thing, which at the present time, is a more straightforward and brutal take on Tampa. With their fourth album Aeons Black, the Swedes do exactly what is expected of them and nothing more. Too bad the same can’t be said for Benton and crew.

The 15-song, 50 minute running order at first appears daunting, yet the inclusion of four short instrumentals necessitates time-outs from brutality. Aeon doesn’t anything else other than to be brutal, so it’s with little restraint the band pounds away on cuts like “Still They Prey,” “The Voice of the Accuser” and “I Wish You Death,” the three songs that virtually cement the album as another barnstormer. Because their technical palette is slightly less than Deicide’s, we’re treated basic palm-mute-a-thons and the uneven melodic interchange of which comes in handy on “Nothing Left to Destroy.”

The band’s lyrical bent again focuses on their noticeable distaste for organized religion (the titles give it away, as usual). This piggybacking and constant harping on all things God has long been Aeon’s modus operandi, but four albums into their career, it might be nigh time to start exploring other lyrical options. Granted, more sordid tales of unsavory priests, religious misgivings, and false doomsday proclamations are going to keep happening, but Aeon’s platform is starting to sour…much like Deicide’s did around Serpents of the Light.

It may sound like we’re beating a dead horse in relation to the Aeon versus Deicide discussion, but the Swedes don’t present much of an alternative in their sound. Bear in mind that Aeon aren’t unabashed idea and riff-stealers; they’re just the Scandinavian option to what was once, an American death metal institution. Maybe it’s Blistering that is having a hard time reconciling this…

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