Sunday, June 20, 2010

Son of Aurelius: The Farthest Reaches (2010) Review

Son of Aurelius is a new technical death metal band who look like they're still in high school (they may be). They discussed their debut The Farthest Reaches in the June Decibel, so I decided to pick it up.

For tech-death, these guys are not particularly brutal. With few exceptions (e.g. "Myocardial Infarction") they don't get any more brutal than, say, Between the Buried and Me. At first listen this really annoyed me, and I was going to write a scathing review.

But I gave it a second listen, and decided to take it on its own terms, not mine. These guys are very talented musicians, and they seem to understand how important bass guitar is to the Necrophagist-style of tech-death. The vocals are done in both a Shagrath-type black metal and a Necrophagist-style growl.

They seem to think, though, that instrumental virtuosity and cool riffs and solos are everything there is to doing technical death metal. Most of the songs are just a bunch of cool parts thrown together haphazardly. When they do manage to write a real song (like "A Champion Reborn") it comes out really well. But most of the time, they don't. "Facing the Gorgon" is somewhere in between the bad parts and the good parts:

The Verdict: Son of Aurelius shows a lot of potential on this album. Technically they are very proficient, and they seem extremely young, so they've got time to grow into their songwriting skills. Not a particularly impressive debut, but I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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