Sulphur Aeon – Gateway to the Antisphere (Van Records)Thursday, 2nd April 2015
Admittedly a bit late to the Sulphur Aeon party having discovered the band last year, it didn’t mean there was any less excitement when the band’s second effort, Gateway to the Antisphere, was announced. Continuing the fine tradition of fantastic oceanic covers for the band (not to mention the Cthulhu influence), Ola Larsson may have outdone himself on this one. Already fast-tracking this one for cover art of the year, does the music behind the phenomenal artwork shine through?
Absolutely it does. Sulphur Aeon build nicely upon their material as masters of death metal with a penchant for adding in just enough atmosphere and complexity that you keep coming back for more. The band’s ability to craft death metal “songs,” as opposed to adrenaline-soaked flourishes, is certainly one of the strongest points of the album. Sulphur Aeon can bring the brutality when necessary, but it’s the smaller factors (of which one can hear even more of with successive listens) that really put the icing on the cake. The way that they move from the epic opening of a song like “Titans” and then just let it rip later in the track is eloquently done. Then there are tracks like “Diluvial Ascension” that weave some Lovecraftian melodies into the faster parts with sadistic glee. It’s really tough to find a song that doesn’t get your head banging as well as your mind racing. Hell, they even manage to make the opening and closing bits quite compelling (“…To Drown this World” and “Conclusion” respectively). Then it’s topped with a production that really lets everything have just enough play.
Not much to complain about with Gateway to the Antisphere. Excellent straight-up death metal that takes the conventional and alters it into a new, more twisted form. It’s rare to see such a balance of atmosphere and brutality in this particular field, so by all means make sure that this album is not missed.