Aeon – Path of Fire (Metal Blade Records)

Tuesday, 19th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Virtually the Deicide of the modern era, Aeon haven’t quite turned God-bashing into the same sideshow that Glen Benton did, but they’re doing their best. Because of the advent of digital promos, we are left without a lyric sheet, although we can quickly deduce what songs such as “Abomination to God,” “I Will Burn” and “Liar in the Name of God” are going for – God ain’t cool around these parts. Path of Fire is the band’s third album, proving that while variety isn’t a pre-requisite, calling out Jesus and his cronies is, taking it to almost comedic levels.

Parlaying a heightened, slightly more technical brand of classic Florida/Swedish DM, Aeon manage to churn out a handful of memorable, unrelenting songs. Opening number “Forgiveness Denied” (which has an awesome video to boot) doles out the same kind of whiplash Suffocation did back in the day, while “Of Fire” reels off several choice, meaty Swedish DM riffs (love those harmonic squeals) that the likes of Grave and Unleashed would gladly call their own.

Like most death metal albums of the technical variety, Path of Fire suffers from distinct uniformity, for once we get past the midway point of the album, songs lose their distinction and identity. Furthermore, Aeon is making direct inroads toward sounding a little too much like Deicide. Singer Tommy Dahlström is perhaps most guilty of this, for when his vocals are doubled (a very Benton-like tactic), one can’t help but recall the glory days of Legion and Once Upon the Cross. There’s nothing wrong with being the Swedish Deicide, though. Hopefully Aeon won’t devolve into a pattern of inconsistency like the Floridians did.

The issue with Aeon is the same for a lot of brutal death metal bands (read: how does one making brutal DM interesting over the course of eight songs-plus?), but Path of Fire has its merits, namely its willingness to be overt and catchy at the same time. Like we keep harping on, with Deicide in a perpetual state of flux, someone has to take on the role of God-hating death metal. Better it be Aeon than anyone else.

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