For a debut from newcomers Æsthetica’s ‘Sonorous Æon’ offers somewhat bold and occasionally misguided experimentation with psychedelia, atmospherics, and sampled audio that recall both modern doom metal and the earliest trudgery of Electric Wizard. There are nearly as many failed ideas as successful ones on the album, but it somehow forms itself into a glommed, heady jog of and album that works in passing. The first track “Haze” starts off in my least favorite fashion, a bit of spoken word and later features a flat, weird drum-machine sounding tempo increase as it ends. “Todesfuge” features looping German spoken word samples from a well known uh poem… beneath it’s 5 minutes of average riffing and I wouldn’t blame folks to fall off the album right there. I suppose “La Paz” more than makes up for the first ten minutes of bad choices, because it is it’s own ten minutes of simple and effective atmospheric slow-motion scales that build into a huge and effective doom metal song that highlights the album.
For any gripes I hold with the first ten minutes of the album the rest of ‘Sonorous Æon’ is meandering and groove-heavy doom metal. The relatively green vocalist is distinct and a little off-kilter in the same way Revelation was in their early days. The riffs are heavy and honestly kinda polite in their heavy psych-ish execution. The leads swirling around in the back of the mix on songs like “Worshipper” offer an interesting contrast to the layered backing vocals and offer a more tasteful take on the kind of songs that filled out albums like ‘In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend’. That sort of track reminds me that it isn’t entirely unfair to compare an upstart independent band like this to major players in doom, because their ideas will be just as strong or better with time and a kick in the pants.
I love that Æsthetica looks and feels like a traditional doom metal band but their passions for post-rock, heavy psych, and stoner metal burn through a little brighter on their longer compositions. The jangly closing track “Ekstasis” sets itself up like an Ice Dragon style long-burner and then jams itself out for it’s last half and you’d almost forget this is the same band that wrote standout tracks like “La Paz” and “Worshipper”. As soon as this band condenses their strengths and capitalizes upon their best songwriting moments, I am confident they’ll pump out even better music. ‘Sonorous Æon’ is only slightly out of focus and faux-pretentious for it’s amateur lilt for my taste yet still ends up a memorable doom album from a very packed December.
|Released||December 8, 2017|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Æsthetica on Facebook|
Black milk in the morning. 2.95/5.0
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