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Burn After Me - Aeon Award winner

Burn After Me
by Ben Fitts at 11 June 2017, 12:52 PM

“Aeon”, the second album by Italian Metalcore quintet BURN AFTER ME, is a molten chasm of a record. “Aeon” has the combination of muscle and angst needed to make a great metalcore record, but is significantly more ambitious than a typical album for the genre. “Aeon” is elevated to whole new height by highly technical playing, atmospheric keyboard textures, daring composition and top-notch musicianship.

The album opens with nearly two and a half minutes of carefully and highly effective ambience before the band kicks in, led by a rapidly melodic guitar lead, with the track “Cocytus”. Once the full band enters, “Cocytus” becomes a very different track and “Aeon” really begins. A series of infectious yet grinding guitar/bass riffs, near mechanically tight drumming, cinematic keyboards and fierce, guttural vocals unfold and remain constant factors throughout “Aeon”, yet find new and original ways to apply themselves to each track.

These elements find themselves materializing in the form of an unrelenting grind on the album’s second track, “Chasm”, a contrast that is especially jarring given the relative amount of spaciousness in the preceding track, “Cocytus”. The intensity of the first two tracks, as well as the pulverizing quality of the second, are also found on the album’s third track, “Phlegethon”, but “Aeon” really hits its stride of the following, more restrained track, “Lustful”. Set to a slower tempo and an all-around a less busy song than any of its preceding tracks, “Lustful” shines with well-crafted melodicism, brilliant textures, effective dynamics, and great songwriting, making it perhaps the strongest track on the album.

The sparser, more melodic focused template introduced by “Lustful” continues over the course of the next few tracks, “Head Bowned”, “Sewn Shut Eyes” and “Right Fit”. In general, in could be said that “Aeon” tends to calm down a bit towards the middle of the album. One would probably expect that, towards the end of the album, “Aeon” would return to the grating intensity of its first few tracks, but, surprisingly the album doubles down on its ever softening direction.

The gradual softening of “Aeon” begins with “Lustful”, but really becomes apparent with its ninth track “Beatrix”, which is essentially a modern Metalcore take on an eighties power ballad. “Beatrix” is followed by the ambient, proggy and almost jazzy “Fixed Stars”, which features both clean vocals and clean guitars on its verses, although the track’s chorus is considerably harsher.  The following track, “Angels”, is in such a similar vein to “Fixed Stars” that it is rather surprising that the two tracks were placed directly next to each other; “Angels” also features the same sort of ambient, jazz influenced clean guitarwork and soft verse/big chorus dynamic found in “Fixed Stars”, not to mention just a general similarity in sound. “Aeon” ends with the instrumental track “Empyrean”, which found in and out from ambience to the full band and from quiet to loud dynamics, yet throughout maintaining a highly uplifting, optimistic attitude that makes it standout from the rest of “Aeon”.

“Aeon” is a masterful album. The album took risk, but, due in large part to excellent musicianship and great songwriting, they always paid off. The choice to start at “Aeon” at its most propulsive, and have the tracks gradually become softer and more relaxed was an interesting one. While it may have been nice to see the heavier tracks more spread out through the album, the decision to have “Aeon” essentially be a fifty-two minute long decrescendo was still inarguably an effective one.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memororablity: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Cocytus
2. Chasm
3. Phlegethon
4. Lustful
5. Head Bowned
6. Sewn Shut Eyes
7. Right Fit
8. Chaste Kiss
9. Beatrix
10.  Fixed Stars
11.  Angels
12.  Empyrean
Roberto Frigo: Vocals
Niccolò Dagradi: Guitar
Simone Folino: Guitar
Jacopo Scopel: Bass
Luca Peruzzotti: Drums
Record Label: Nuvi Records


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