Band: Æternal Requiem
Release Date: 30th April 2019
Record Label: Unsigned
I was kindly send a press kit for Æternal Requiem, and it promised some power folk metal, so I of course had to give it a listen.
The Prelude is an instrumental track, with acoustic guitars to start off with. The electric guitars and drums come in, and the melody from the acoustic guitars continues. There are also a few regal drums rolls which build up the atmosphere. The title track, Rise, starts off strong, but I feel like the guitar tone isn’t quite sharp enough. The vocals are almost spoken word, and to me aren’t very powerful except for the choral vocals, but there is a great solo towards the end.
Never to Return is a faster paced track, with group “woah”‘s and flute. There is a breakdown and a faster paced solo, but again the sound quality is not perfect. There is another acoustic start to On My Way, and it has a much slower pace with strings. The guitar and drums build up the instrumental, and the main body of the track is mid-paced and a long instrumental follows.
Day of Reckoning begins with the guitar feeling hopeful and happy. There is a bit of a gallop section but it is still heavy and gritty. It’s an instrumental track that gets more chaotic as the track progresses. Succubus has a quiet start featuring only guitars and voice, and around 2 and a half minutes in the full band comes in, before it’s stripped right back down again a minute or so later. The track flips between the heaviness of the full band and the more stripped back sections.
Once again, solo guitar builds up Dead to the World, this time with a more somber feel to start, but the track does become a little more upbeat with a singalong chorus and a fast guitar solo. The album ends with So Far, with an acoustic beginning, and then the pace picks up when the electric picks up the melody. There’s a gallop in the drums and a catchy riff, with group chants and a group chorus, with a marching pace to accompany it. There is also a big instrumental section with lots of different mini sections to it; some faster, some slower, some with different feelings attached to them. The pace slows when the vocals come back in and it ends with piano and strings.
In terms of genre and composition, this album does exactly what it says on the tin, there are power and folk elements, as well as some more traditional heavy metal elements in there too. Though on a couple of points, I feel a little let down. For me, the vocals aren’t quite strong enough. The pitch is there, but the power isn’t, and for power folk metal I feel like you need to have a strong voice. This opinion may be partly due to my second point which is the quality of the sound. A lot of the guitars have distortion and effects on them, but I just feel like with a good mastering, the tone and sound would be a bit clearer. Even on some of the more extreme distorted guitars you can hear, particularly in atmospheric black metal, there will still be a crispness to the sound, which I don’t really hear on this record.
The quality of the composition is fantastic, I just feel like this would benefit a little more from some good mastering and increase in the audio quality.
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