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Aegonia - The Forgotten Song

The Forgotten Song
by Jack Harding at 25 June 2019, 7:11 PM

Ideally, an artist should at least have some semblance of an idea as to what they want to do before creating. Winging it as you go along is a process that very rarely results in success. In leads to a disjointed final product that, without heavy editing, feels disjointed, incohesive and unsure of itself. Brief moments of brilliance may occur, but these moments tend to fade into the whole, as the ideas are not exploited and allowed to develop. Bulgaria’s AEGONIA are unfortunately a well intentioned victim of this phenomenon. Across an hour long debut, concept record, they are  unsure of what mask to wear. Are they a Prog band, weaving genres and breaking boundaries? Are they a Folk band, creating stunning still images of the morose? Are they merely an audiobook, telling their story as first priority? Many facets are attempted, but none are fully executed. With more planning and a refined sense of self-identity, there is potential here with AEGONIA. It is however, incredibly hard to spot such potential when it is smothered by torrents of mediocre, time-wasting drivel.

AEGONIA are a rare review for me. By and by, I am a Metal reviewer. However, the heaviest elements of this record are actually the weakest moments. The quality of the song is strangely inversely proportional to the amount of distorted guitars. Where AEGONIA’s strengths truly lie are with their Folk elements. Mysterious guitar arpeggios, with snake-like, ever-weaving violin melodies work their ways into the eardrums, forging a delicately balanced melancholic atmosphere, that is quite simply stunning. With folky passages in songs such as “Rain Of Tears,” “Restless Mind,” and “The Stolen Song,” AEGONIA successfully channel the likes of JOHN PETRUCCI (think the opening to “Pull Me Under”), OPETH and NE OBLIVISCARIS. These folk sections are truly where a listener will gain the most from this album, however they are often, if not always, interrupted by uninspired distorted guitars. With no true purpose or intent, distorted guitar parts just uninterestingly strum alongside the better, folky melodies with occasional attempts at memorable riffs that fall flat on their face (end of “Rain Of Tears”).

A concept album is a tricky beast. Some bands make them look easy, but to interweave narrative and music, is not an easy feat. This album is an example of a band attempting a concept album without really understanding what that entails. Essentially what we have here is an album and a story, written in two completely different rooms, with no communication between the two. The two mediums have then been stitched together poorly by some backstreet knock-off of Doctor Frankenstein, with no regard for aesthetics or basic biology. For example, the lyrics for “Battles Lost And Won” portray landscapes of war and fury, yet the music instead screams: Game Of Thrones set clean-up. There is no cohesion between music and narrative. The only musical reference to the story is a brief march on the snare drum during the intro, which is then immediately forgotten until a brief moment near the end of the song. A concept album should be telling a story with the music, otherwise it’s not really a concept album. In fact, I think the band actually agree with me, because the amount of spoken word on this record is ridiculous. It has obviously been noticed that they have struggled to cover beats from the story in their music. Instead of reworking the songs, so that the narrative is better conveyed, they merely gave up. As a replacement they merely spewed exposition in whatever space they could find. This, in addition to acting performances that barely rival amateur dramatics, completely kills any interest in the narrative, leading to utter boredom. If I’m not invested in a story, just chucking more of that exact same story at me, is not going to help.

There is a lot of passion on display here, and despite a momentary lapse in quality with awful string scraping in “Gone,” the production is solid. However, if AEGONIA want to produce anything of worth, they truly need to figure out what sort of band they want to be. They place priority on all of their weakest elements, and disgrace their wonderful folky side, as a mere intro for other, inferior, elements. If they re-evaluate themselves, there could be potential here, but until then AEGONIA will continue to wallow in mediocrity.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

1. In The Lands Of Aegonia
2. Rain Of Tears
3. With The Mists She Came
4. Restless Mind
5. Dreams Come To Me
6. Battles Lost And Won
7. The Offer
8. The Stolen Song
9. Gone
10. The Severe Mountain
11. A Bitter Fate
12. The Ruins Of Aegonia
ELITSA STOYANOVA - Vocals And Violin
NIKOLAY NIKOLOV - Vocals, Guitar And Kaval
Record Label: Independent


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