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Aether Realm - Redneck Vikings from Hell Award winner

Aether Realm
Redneck Vikings from Hell
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 09 May 2020, 4:14 AM

AETHER REALM is a 4-Piece Melodic Death/Folk Metal band from Greenville, North Carolina. Ventura, California. This is their third full-length album and first since ‘’Tarot’’ that came out back in 2017. They toured extensively throughout North America for that release, they were opening for the grandmasters of Power Metal, GLORYHAMMER. They were formed way back in 2010 and have gained a cult following since the release of the 2017 album.

Following ‘‘Tarot’’ is no easy task, out is the trademark Technical prowess and enter a mish-mash of different styles and arrangements. The previous album was more of a concept album and for this new album, all songs pretty much stand on their own.

I'll get this out of the way right now: the production job is really good, creating a haunting atmosphere. All the instruments, both "real" and synthesized, are incredibly well balanced, with nothing sounding cheap. Another thing I need to praise is Vincent's voice, both clean and harsh. I don't think it gets enough recognition.

Although the album feels like it could have offered a bit more, the music is still superb. It’s not on the same level with the 2017 release, but it still has that cold atmosphere we have come to expect and the production this time around is even more huge and epic. Some may even say this is an overproduced effort but I feel it sounds wonderful. The music is not as technical this time around and in all actuality, far less guitar oriented. The guitar riffs are still there and heard quite clearly but they really give the epic orchestrations more room to breathe.

Hell, the music itself is amazing, so I can't just gripe constantly about how I wish certain things were handled. At the end of the day, "Redneck Vikings from Hell " is a 50 minute experience that holds a surprising amount of replay value due to it's not too long duration and how well the songs flow together to make for what sounds like 1 long song and not just 5, hence why I called this album an experience. It's not just something you'll look at and say "Hey, I like this one song. I think I'll listen to that". It's something that you will be wanting to listen to in it's entirety because of how well the music flows.

Every song is unique in its genre. The opening track, the aforementioned title track, gets a lot of flack for being far too long for an intro track. I don't agree with this notion; four minutes might be a little long but it doesn't feel long-winded or lazy at any point in time. It just functions as a lead-in to the star of the album. ‘’Goodbye’’ isn't bad at all, either, still featuring some interesting harmonic work yet a very ballad-esque song.. ‘’Lean Into the Wind’’ I find a little boring, just because the theme isn't developed very much. I believe the biggest fault of this album to be that it begins with the strongest song, peaking at the very beginning, and the next ten minutes are just downhill  then it comes back alive again. It’s still an experience, each song hold its own and no song is the same. They dive into Melodic Death Metal greatness on the last track with some very long instrumentals thrown in for good measure.

This album is certainly a trip through space and time and many unique elements of various music influences and speed metal added into one. I give this album a 9 out of 10 for its deep effort, amazing production, unique sound, and themes. Without a doubt, I couldn't give this album any lower than a 90% and I really, REALLY look forward to the next album. As you work, listen, or do any other activity and the last track has finally finished, you really do expect another one to come on, but those 50 minutes were just a WHOOOSH through a time tunnel of inconsistent adventure. They go every which way but loose and brings the listeners to various places and it’s not for everybody obviously.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Redneck Vikings from Hell
2. Goodbye
3. Lean into the Wind
4. Hunger
5. Guardian
6. One Hollow Word
7. She’s Back
8. Slave to the Riff
9. Cycle
10. TMHC
11. Craft and the Creator
Lineup:
Vincent Jones – Vocals and Bass
Tyler Gresham – Drums
Donny Burbage – Guitars
Heinrich Arnold – Guitars and Backing Vocals
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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