Aether - In Embers - (9/10)
Published on May 28, 2019
Genre:Symphonic Death / Melodic Death / Epic Metal
Aether is a Polish band that seems to have a really high affinity for the “Wintersun genre”. If the “Beautiful Death” reference in the lyrics of their first single “Forest” (see below) wasn’t enough to hint you out, then the way their debut album sounds certainly will. It falls straight into the orchestral, epic style of death metal that Wintersun has initiated and various metal bands from around the world followed. But I feel I need to make a strong case that this band is not a copy! Their sound and songwriting style is very much their own, and for a debut album, it sounds surprisingly mature and well balanced.
“In Embers” kicks off with the already released single “Golden Eyed Fox” and that is a very good example of what you can expect from the whole album. It is quite straightforward, fast, energetic and drenched in keys and sampling orchestras. Their songs revolve around the 4-5 minute mark and they all tend to follow the same pattern (which to me was probably the only real downside of this album). They have a way of always throwing both impact and melody at the same time and as a result of some really inspired themes, the songs are quite catchy and easy to get into. On the technical side they also don’t disappoint, offering some really satisfying, fast and tight riffing backed by a part death metal, part power metal drumming style courtesy of Stratovarius drummer Rolf Pilve. Slap in some sweet flashy solos, excessive orchestra hits, a few blast beats and a really raspy scream and your sound is complete! I’m actually getting a lot of overly flamboyant power metal vibes from this album (check out the cover artwork too) but with none of the usual power metal cheese.
Now keeping that kind of energy all the way through could get a bit redundant. But Aether found a very good way to mix things up and work around that. Inserting brief snippets of calm, with very clever use of keys, samples and clean guitar, they created a beautiful, dreamy sort of atmosphere that makes a nice contrast and keeps the energy fresh and exciting every time they kick in again. They also have a knack for crescendos by building up some properly epic percussion over the atmospheric effects (the “Elements” interlude is the best example of this and definitely one of the highlights of the album). Another really sweet bonus are the guest vocals. Especially the ethereal, shimmery vibe added by the female vocals in “Last Battle” and “Dream” was an absolute delight. “Dream” is probably my favourite song on the record and it’s final keyboard outro is an awesome way to close the album. The sick double pedals in “Tale of Fire” also require a mention.
This album ticks all the melo-death boxes, and it has a few power metal and symphonic elements too. The production is also really high quality (though I felt the vocals were a bit too overpowering in the mix from time to time). The list of negatives for “In Embers” is very brief so if you’re into melo-death and especially if you’re keen on epic soundscapes, you have to give it a try!