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Aeir – A Frith Befouled

A Frith Befouled
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 22 July 2022, 6:58 AM

AEIR is a narrative-driven Progressive Sludge Metal collective based in the UK and the US. The first album "Vol I: A Frith Befouled" consists of five songs, that music wise is reaching new shores when it comes to the atmosphere and tonal approach. These first recordings display an emotive, melancholic and yet heavy concept album that prefaces an original allegorical tale of feudal misrule, proletarian dissent, Mesopotamian divinations, and the rampant molestation of sentient environs.

“Serfdom” is the first cut.  There is a long lead-in of tense strings that build on one another. Drum thuds increase, like footsteps getting closer to you in the dark. You can’t see what is out there, but the hairs standing up on the back of your neck warn you. Then, they stop suddenly. “A Frith Befouled” is a 15-minute offering. Clean guitar tones ring out clearly while something stirs in the background. A heavy thud ushers in desolate, harsh vocals and a solemn and unforgiving sound. Smooth and depressing sound emanate from there, with just a hint of melody. Close to the half-way mark, the sound changes, and more melody fills the air. The filthy sound then returns through completion.

“Curia Regis” is another short song with clean guitars and some pensive and reflective tones. The clean vocals here are done with falsetto. It sounds like the audio equivalent of a face streaked with tears. “The Threshing Floor” opens with beautiful clean guitars and backing melodies, characterizing the best of what Post Metal has to offer the listener. The harsh vocals however provide the hardened edge, as thick bass notes begin to chug away, and before you know it, the song is heavy and desolate again. The sound is so desolate, you almost lose hope forever, as it drives your fears and insecurities.

“Profaned Moria” closes the album; another lengthy track. Following some soul wrenching screams, clean vocals some in with a heavy backdrop. It then backs off to smooth, mellow tones, but the desperation can still be felt in the music, and it slowly grows more despondent as it rolls on, ending emphatically. Call it Sludge, call it Progressive, call it Post, it doesn’t matter how you label it. It’s a totally dejected album that plays on your worst apprehensions, with gut-wrenching vocals and cold, sterile instrumentation. There are moments of hope mixed in, but you really have to dig for them, and just when they are within your grasp, the disappear into thin air.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Serfdom
2. A Frith Befouled
3. Curia Regis
4. The Threshing Floor
5. Profaned Moira
Record Label: Moment of Collapse Records


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