Believe it or not, Melodic Death Metal act: Aether Realm hails not from Gothenburg or anywhere in the genre’s Scandinavian kingdom for that matter, but from North Carolina. In an American metal scene, primarily crowded by Metalcore, Melodeath (effectively executed at least) is quite the rarity; so when I was asked to review Aether Realm’s upcoming release One Chosen by the Gods, I was intrigued to say the least.
The album kicks off with its soft chiming intro “Journey of Discovery” only before exploding into a full on Melodic Death Metal assault with the track “Hourglass.” This song showcases an impressive melodic rhythm while introducing the band’s impressive vocal aggression: comparable to the likes of Mikael Stanne [Dark Tranquility]. The albums next song “Aether Realm” speeds it up with an impressively crafted synchronization of death vocals, melody, and keys just before some major guitar shredding takes the reins. “Swampwitch” then tears it up in a more aggressive manner while also displaying a great “scream-along” chorus and some classic melodic thrashing. One Chosen by the Gods’ next [self-titled] track breaks it down with a powerful interlude of double-bass before speeding away on a journey of synth driven metal. “Ravensong” comes in next, with a near-perfect performance of Melodeath infused with the band’s trademark aggressively filthy vocal onslaught. The album’s next song “Winter’s Grasp” gets a bit more Tech-Metal with the guitars: a compliment of Aether Realm’s metal versatility. “Odin Will Provide” continues the album’s musical concept before it closes with the track “Oak” [a personal favorite]. This song begins with an acoustic performance, reminiscent of In Flames “The Jester Race” before unleashing the band’s best melodic bombardment yet.
One Chosen by the Gods is a breath of fresh air to the American metal scene. No breakdowns, no generic thrashing; just an impressive display of Aether Realm’s technical skill and their ability to synergize all of its elements. The album drops January 8th on Primitive Way Records; for fans of Melodeath, One Chosen by the Gods is a must get.
Review by Matt Crane – HHM