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Grandeur – Aurea Aetas Award winner

Aurea Aetas
by Ben Gardiner at 18 October 2021, 9:50 PM

"Aurea Aetas" is a fiery tribute to the second wave Black Metal sound, the result of someone who drew from elements laid out decades before, who probably said to themselves, ‘this is good, but how can I make it better?’ leaving us with 5 tracks of pure BM bliss, crackling guitar riffs, drums that blast incessantly and vocals that rip and tear through the soul. Erech, the multi-instrumentalist mastermind behind GRANDEUR and several other Black Metal projects, makes his intentions clear from the very title of the band, each song on the release dripping with splendour and magnitude, as well as an ensnaring emotional strain.

The first track of the EP, “Acatalepsia,” in other words, a state of incomprehension, features an atmosphere building synth line of cosmic vastness, I love intros like this because it allows the listener to create their own narrative, leaving room for any kind of setting you choose to imagine, placing the music in your hands like. Putty, leaving it to you to mould your own story or feeling. Without warning or indication, the instruments burst to life in a wall of impenetrable noise, the blasting drums and high-pitched tremolo guitars moving in tandem like an unstoppable force. The vocals come in strained and harsh. Whilst the drums lac character, they provide depth to the sound, with the real emotion shining through the riffs and melodies of the guitar, and even just in the first song the melodies feel endless, a treasure trove of feeling. The vocals are unwavering and carry a tint of pain with them, creating a somber aggression.

Exordium” starts with a fantastic, shrill guitar riff, acting like vocals of their own, a world of stories speaks through the melodies, this high-pitched guitar section, combined with the deep, low key vocals that simmer beneath the surface create one of the best sounds in Black Metal I have heard. The blasting drums come in to add the aggression to the otherwise beautiful and delicate sounding passage. Towards the end of the track, we hear the main guitar line and drums drop out, leaving us with a lo-fi guitar movement sounding completely disjointed from the song, the guitar drops further into the background, the production making it sound like we are hearing it from another room, through a wall, indicating further the ever moving, swirling emotions and vibes this EP has to offer, constantly keeping the listener on their toes and excited.

The titular track presents itself as a more classic sounding BM song, relentless blast beats over the signature high tones of the guitars, the song retains the level of ever evolving melodies and endless riffage. The bonus track that comes with this edition of the EP is a highly aggressive, very fast paced song with excellent passages of godly vocals that differ hugely from the scratchy screams we’ve heard so far. As with the second track, we have a section of musical sparseness, and just an angelic sounding guitar melody, leading us into one final explosion of blasting and tremolo that creates the perfect volatile conclusion to the EP.

This release contains an endless number of excellent riffs, melodies and ideas, it could be a microcosm of a bands whole discography condensed into 5 tracks with how much it has to offer. Endlessly enjoyable, I am desperate to hear more from GRANDEUR, with the Erech at its helm, and with the addition of a more proficient drummer to add a further variety of sounds, this band has unlimited potential to be brilliant. In the way that it draws from elements of second wave BM, and contributing so much more of its own uniqueness, it has the fantastic effect of sounding both familiar and brand new at the same time.

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

4 Star Rating

1. I: Acatalepsia
2. II: Exordium
3. III: Ultimum
4. IV: Aurea Aetas
5. V: Cathedra
Erech - All Music
Record Label: Personal Records


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