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Ages - The Malefic Miasma Award winner

The Malefic Miasma
by Daniel Fox at 18 May 2015, 2:32 PM

Another epic Black Metal band to emerge out of Scandinavia; it’s essentially the standard, now. In a recent conversation I was having with a friend of mine about the Swedish band AGES, he asked me: “Are they Swedes who play Black Metal? They have to be at least alright.” Formed in 2011, in Falun, comprised of members of DISSECTION and NIGHTRAGE, 2015 sees the band finally releasing their debut full-length album, “The Malefic Miasma”.

What you’ll get out of this 8-song tapestry is not a slew of buzzing riffs and half-hearted blastbeats, but a raw-yet-elegant, atmospheric and mournfully melodic series of songs that are created with a mature, artful direction. Black Metal? Hardly a sufficient label, given the multi-faceted gems contained within. Beginning with “At The Behest Of Reason”, a short acoustic introduction leads into an almost-wistful series of archetypal tremolo riffs. Fairly typical Black Metal follows, however the acoustic guitars remain at the front of the timbre, along with tasteful vocals. However, what truly blew my mind were the epic, soaring sections during the chorus – almost WINTERSUN-like, perhaps with a dash of KEEP OF KALESSIN – complete with blaring clean vocals and soaring atmospherics. If you’re looking for a little more DIMMU or CRADLE in your Black Metal (Satan bless your un-trve soul), the title track is a spectacularly bombastic display, a lot more on the melodic side of things. The third track in, “Absent Tribulation”, is easily my favourite piece on the record; taken down a notch in terms of tempo, thickness and heaviness, acoustic noodlings, soaring chords and vocals are aplenty; in fact, the acoustic guitar that accompanies the epic Blackened arrangements truly make this track stand out.

“Spawn of the Tyrants” was, unfortunately, the last track to TRULY grab my attention; while it has a tendency to take hold of the mid-tempo cadences present in the title track, it is rife with plenty of epic, dragon-riding passages and Folky interludes. The second half of the album is where I start to lose a little interest; while “Apotheosis” begins with the slow hammer falls and ‘sad’ tremolo that bequests the end times, it unfolds into… Well, something I’ve already heard before. That’s the only issue I have with the remaining tracks; I don’t feel they continue the album in a fashion imaginative or ‘fresh’ enough that holds my attention (coming from someone who enjoys classic Black Metal records, who am I to complain). Mind you, “Ardent Storms” does contain some rather incredible melodic arrangements, and the dirge-like pace of “Mountains Ablaze” is, at the very least, a satisfactory closer to what started as a very promising album.

Sure, it delivered; while I may find myself skipping a couple of tracks later in the list, it –is- a rather fantastic output in a sea of arguably generic releases; something AGES should be proud of.

4 Star Rating

1. At the Behest of Reason
2. The Malefic Miasma
3. Absent Tribulation
4. Spawn of the Tyrants
5. Apotheosis
6. Ardent Storms
7. From the Ashes of Time
8. Mountains Ablaze
Daniel Beckman
Andreas Olander
Brice Leclercq
Record Label: Black Lodge Records


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Edited 01 December 2022

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