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Bretus - Aion Tetra Award winner

Aion Tetra
by Gary Hernandez at 08 September 2019, 4:15 PM

The annals of Doom Metal, dusty and dark volumes stored in the mountains of madness, state that BRETUS formed in 2000 in Italy and released their first demo in 2008. Since then they’ve produced four full-length albums, one EP, and a split (with BLACK CAPRICORN). As one would expect, they’ve had some line-up changes and have evolved their sound. They’ve had a fair amount of well deserved critical acclaim, but more importantly they consistently produce great music. On September 27, 2019 they will release “Aion Tetras” and there will be much rejoicing. And for good cause — this is an excellent album.

Thematically the album is equal parts doom and stoner, with intonations of darkness and dread balanced with references to deep space and cosmic stuff. I guess that makes cosmic horror, which is pretty much the definition of Lovecraftian horror but without allusions to Cthulhu and Ulthar and such. (For that, please refer to this week’s review of SYNTELIA’s “Ending of the Unknown Path.”)

If I were to give a one-word description of “Aion Tetras” I would say “uncompromising.” The Metal Temple writers’ guidelines (also stored in the mountains of madness) dictate word count of our reviews must exceed one word, so I’ll add a bit more. Let’s try, “uncompromising and inventive.” Every track on the album—there are nine of them—are undeniably Doom; but each of them takes a different approach, giving the album musical depth that you don’t always find in this genre. There are acoustic interludes here and there, some synthesizer action, mixed time signatures, layered vocal effects, and lots and lots and lots of heavy riffs. “The Third Mystic Eye,” for instance, starts with a soundscape that could be the intro to any number of science fiction movies . . . that also feature a foreboding sense of death and despair. “Priest of Chaos” has a campy synth intro reminiscent of a Hammer film. “Aion Tetras” is a scant one-minute acoustic piece with a weighty air of solemnity. I could go on and on. The recording of a crow in “Cosmic Crow” is especially cool.

Throughout, Zagarus’s vocals are clean and articulate. His vocal styling sounds like a powerful, slightly sped up Jim Morrison (but I am a child of the 70’s and for me all male vocals fall into about five different categories which may be the subject of a future article that will be of great interest to exactly one person). Track eight, “Field of Mars,” is a bluesy piece which affords listeners a good clear prospective of Zagarus without the distraction of booming riffs and explosive percussions.

Not to suggest the album is some sort of generic crowd pleaser, but it does have a bit of something for most discerning metal fans. Heavier tracks include “City of Frost” and “Mark of Evil.” Contemplative tracks like “Aion Tetras” and “Field of Mars” will satisfy the deep thinkers amongst the tribe. Sludgier tracks like “Deep Space Voodoo,” “The Third Mystic Eye,” and “Cosmic Crow” will appeal to the Doom/Stoner crowd.

While only time will tell if “Aion Tetras” is a seminal album, and sales will determine if it was a commercial success, we can at least say in the right here and the right now that on a scale from ghost particle to black hole, we’re right at neutron star.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Third Mystic Eye
2. Priests of Chaos
3. Prisoner of the Night
4. Aion Tetra
5. Deep Space Voodoo
6. Mark of Evil
7. Cosmic Crow
8. Fields of Mars
9. City of Frost
Ghenes - Guitars
Zagarus - Vocals
Striges - Drums
Janos - Bass
Record Label: Ordo MCM


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