The cover of Sons Of Aeon’s self-titled debut album shows waves crashing against a lighthouse, the black and white imagery almost Bergmanesque in its stark beauty. It is an enigmatic image and not one you might expect to find on the cover of a death metal album. So far so different.
What else do we know about Sons Of Aeon? Well, they’re a five piece from Finland, formed in 2010. Influenced by ‘90s death metal with some punk and rock n roll thrown in for good measure, the band contains members of various bands including Ghost Brigade, Swallow The Sun, Endstand and Code of Silence. Their take on death metal is a decidedly melodic one, their heavy sound underpinned by a very healthy ear for a tune. That’s not to say that tunes can’t be found elsewhere in death metal, it’s just that on this occasion it is particularly notable. Vocals are extreme – as you’d expect – but with a clarity that allows the lyrics to picked out quite easily, and that’s something that is equally true of the instrumentation: heavy and overdriven, but with a clarity of tone that ensures nothing gets lost in the mix; each instrument stands clearly within the overall structure.
The songs themselves are mightily impressive; opener ‘Faceless’ kicks off the album in suitably strident fashion, followed by ‘Cold Waves’, mid-paced thrash with a good groove that builds to a climactic crescendo.
The arrangements do the band great credit, delivering light and shade in cohesive, cogent structures. Dynamics range from the melodic ‘Enemy Of The Souls’ that will please fans of Enslaved, through the brutal ‘Weakness’, to ‘The Centre’, a song that starts with a picked, acoustic riff and spoken word vocal before becoming a much bigger, heavier proposition. It puts one in mind of British band Echoes, and is in many ways the jewel in the album’s crown.
Sons Of Aeon bring the album to a close in a very interesting manner: ‘Black Sheep Process’ builds slowly then fades out at the end, a fascinating way to bring an end to proceedings, and not what you might expect. It’s clear that this band is very comfortable with variation, and do not always travel in the direction the listener might expect.
The album is, then, significantly more than a by the numbers death metal album, delivering a collection of well written songs with enough variation to reward repeated listens. Definitely one for the recommended list.