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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Aethyr - Nihil Grail EP (2011)

Band: Aethyr
Country: Russia
Style: Drone/Doom Metal
Label: R.A.I.G.

I have been delaying this review for a couple days now (not for any particular reason mind you) and now I can finally post it. There's a lot to say about doom and drone metal that comes from Russia, very little of it good, but there are always a gem that does shine among all the dust and rocks. When I got this EP I was debating whether or not to actually cover it, this is before listening to it mind you, but just because a band comes from Russia is no reason to discount them.
I was quite surprised when I first listened to these two songs because they did provide a much different take on what I've come to accept as "Russian doom/drone." Both tracks give a different side of the band's sound, and I can honestly say that it isn't one that's boring, and in fact is one that stands head and shoulders above a lot of their piers from their area. While the opening title-track exhibits a well constructed take on blackened doom metal, Temple of Set is a more, I guess you could say, obvious take on drone. I don't mean for that to sound like a negative, but when you think of drone-doom, or at least when I think of what drone-doom sounds like, this is close to what it comes out sounding like to me. If to just set itself apart from the typical basement drone-doom approach that has been taken by many young artists wanting to express their love for Sunn 0))), this is not just a guitar ringing out into the void and occasionally bursting out into feedback. What you happen to have here are layers of noise and ambiance underscoring the rather simplistic ringing of guitar chords. Despite how short it is (it's a drone track that is actually under ten minutes) it is quite immersive and I did find myself getting lost in it.
It's a solid piece of drone-doom that I've said over the course of this review multiple times, is a lot better than many of their piers from their neck of the woods. I am definitely interested in hearing this group's older material now to see if it's just as interesting as these two tracks were. It's not gonna be for everyone but if you're a doom metal fan I'd recommend at least checking it out.
Overall Score: 7
Highlights: Nihil Grail

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