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Aephanemer - Memento Mori Award winner

Memento Mori
by Joseph “Joe” Thundercloud at 16 March 2017, 3:21 PM

They say the first impression is always the one that lasts the most; there are always two approaches when first encountering a new album, the visual and the auditive one, when first looking at ”Memento Mori”’s cover art, I couldn’t help but think about YES and their memorable depictions of alternate universes in which the unbelievable characters that came to our imagination when listening to the epic tales in the riffs and melodic passages created by Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe and Chris Squire came to life. The endless extension of a surreal realm in which the unimaginable can happen was the first reference that came to mind when encountering France’s AEPHANEMER’S  first full length album and looking at their cover art, trying to decipher what kind of music would come out of a band proceeding from a country that is more known for bands related to symphonic and power metal having a progressive looking album cover. Now I know why they also say that prejudice is the child of ignorance.

In the lack of a better term AEPHANEMER continue the tradition of what has been labeled as the “Gothenburg” sound and as they say it themselves theirs is an effort to revive and continue such performance of the now more than three decade old subgenre of metal.

To be fair and with a complete lack of bias, “Unstoppable“ the opening track to this debut album from AEPHANEMER, just blew my mind, and that is exactly where the opening keyboard riff works as a geodesic  time leaping wormhole between my initial perception and the crossing of the gate to the understanding of the notes invading my neocortex through my auditory system. The riff that follows has a certain JUDAS PRIEST style to it that immediately annihilates any remaining idea of a previously perceived notion. When it came time to look at the band the surprise was now total; ever since looking at a young drummer playing for a band called BLACK GUARD  opening for Symphony X  a couple of years ago, had I not experience such an overwhelming feeling as when I realized who the singer behind the groundbreaking growling vocals of AEPHANEMER  was. Marion Bascoul represents a powerful identity in the blend of ingredients that bring an album like “Memento Mori” together and a skilled performer just like the rest of the members of this amazing Progressive Technical Death Metal French band that comes to define the new generations of Metal evolution, and that the creative forces of nowadays confirm the refusal to bind themselves to any musical border, making quality and environment creation their main driving force.

The tempo switching intervals and the chromatic scales arranged for two guitars turn the beginning of the sensorial escapade into an outburst of outstanding musical composing prowess along with a great production quality that turns out priceless when combined with the elements that forge AEPHANEMER.

“Hellebore” proves to be a brutal contrast to the neo progressive opening of the album as it’s two predecessors, and all the tacks that follow, but I dare not go into words in fear of not giving these French wizards the justice they deserve, and I urge you reader to get a hold of a copy right now. The keyboard and guitar on the background along with the low keyed vocals and the posterior dueling guitar melodic movements are reason enough to incorporate this work into you top racks of your metal collection. The bass walks along with all the rest of the instruments leading a massacre combining the double bass drum along with 210 bpm velocities that combine switching tempos and harmonious piano passages that could have easily been composed by Rick Wakeman himself, rendering the experience of listening to this debut album as a battle against dark forces in endless woods carried on the wings of a golden armored angel.

“The Oathsworn” is a seven and a half minute long epic track that embodies the evolution of metal in the seventeenth year of the twenty first century and a timeless demonstration of the band that was initially founded by the lead guitarist Martin Hamiche as a solo project in 2013 and that acquired such recognition that ultimately lead to the creation of this great band and the gorgeous accident that ricochets as a part of cosmic reciprocity towards us faithful metal maniacs, every time we are in the presence of ARCH ENEMY, NIGHTWISH, EPICA, BATTLE BEAST, and now Aephanemer; being able to witness how maybe to the outside world the wave of female empowerment may seem like a new trend, reminds me of how this is no novelty to the metal world; a scene, a passion, and now a worldwide movement and industry, accustomed to see great female musicians and executives in every single position of the multiple subgenres on and off the stage, not to mention the countless groupies that have made it possible for the bands to withstand the endless road. (please pretend you didn’t read that last part).

This band and their debut album took me on a journey from JUDAS PRIEST and AT THE GATES, obtaining passages that that unwillingly referred CHILDREN OF BODOM and AMON AMARTH, CELTIC FROST and ELVENKING, the references seem insufficient and all that remains is the advise to acquire the album to have a taste of the record by yourself.  I only hope I can see this band as soon as possible and that they can withstand the taste of time and the different turmoil that can come with fame and all those things that have nothing to do with music.

It is a great album, perfection in the making that suited all my metal needs for almost two hours from the very first note to the last, hope the wolves live a long life and the albums increase in quality, if not we will at least, better said, at best, "Memento Mori".

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Unstoppable
2. Sisyphus’ Bliss
3. Hellebore
4. The Oathsworn
5. Ghosts
6. Rage and Forgiveness
7. The Call Of The Wild
8. Crows
9. Memento Mori
10. Gilgamesh
Martin Hamiche - Lead Guitar
Marion Bascoul - Vocals & Rythm Guitar
Anthony Delmas - Bass
Mickaël Bonnevialle - Drums
Record Label: Primeval Records


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Edited 08 February 2023

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