Avant Garde/Black Metal
Greek black metal outfit Aenaon left me raving after their debut album Cendres et Sang in 2011, with the unique fusion of black metal and jazz to create a rather unique, though not unheard-of sound. 3 years on, the band releases the follow up in the form of Extance, and with the high note that they left off for me on Cendres et Sang, my expectations are naturally rather high for their sophomore full length release.
Kicking off the album with the classically-inspired instrumental The First Art, the band leaves one hanging in eager anticipation, and with little warning, one is treated to a nice melody by saxophones, quickly reminding one of some of the more avant-garde moments of Ihsahn‘s solo album, especially the sax-heavy album After. The similarities that one draws to the progressive metal efforts of Ihsahn continues on Deathtrip Chronicle, especially so with the gruff vocals of Astrous.
Right from the start, the melodic and emotional aspects of Aenaon‘s craft are still rather evident, from the dark and melancholic atmosphere that is evoked with the classical instrumentation, to the depression and desolation that one feels with the riffs unleashed by guitarists Achilleas and Anax as well as the desperate shrieks and growls of Astrous. The overall atmospheric experience is topped by the operatic layering of clean singing that remains pretty prominent throughout the album.
On Extance, the band pushes the boundaries that they have set on Cendres et Sang even further, with the black metal edge being much higher on this album, with unprecedented negativity that is emanated through the music of Aenaon, with songs like Grau Diva even giving off a slight Satyricon, black ‘n’ roll vibe. There are even more chaotic moments as well, and one often can’t help but draw comparisons with other similar, avant-garde or progressive extreme metal bands such as Code, Sigh or even the notorious jazz-metal band Shining, especially with the constant high prominence of the saxophone that remains throughout the entirety of the album, often playing the lead role in steering the emotions of the listener.
Suffice to say, the second full length effort of Aenaon has certainly more than met my rather high expectations, far surpassing the already excellent debut album, with a marked growth in the band.