Disciples of the Unseen

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First, a clarification: Aeternam should not be confused with the Swedish death metal band In Aeternum. There might be some confusion because of the similarity of their names and because both are part of death metal, but Aeternam are not from Sweden -- they're from Quebec City, Canada -- and Aeternam's approach to death metal is quite different from In Aeternum's approach to death metal. In Aeternum's albums are known for being vicious and unforgiving; Disciples of the Unseen, however, is quite melodic. Melody isn't a mere afterthought on nuanced offerings like "Esoteric Formulae" and "Ouroboros"; it is an essential part of the Canadians' musical vision, which owes a lot to the more musical side of European extreme metal. Aeternam do get some inspiration from Scandinavian death metal bands, but they don't emulate the unapologetically harsh bands like In Aeternum. Rather, Aeternam inspire comparisons to the more melodic Swedish death metallers such as At the Gates and In Flames. But Aeternam have an appealing energy of their own -- and while many of the melodic death metal (and symphonic black metal) bands coming out of Sweden, Norway, and Finland have been affected by traditional Nordic folk, this early-2010 release has a strong Middle Eastern influence. Aeternam aren't the only metalheads who appreciate Middle Eastern music; for example, the Israeli band Distorted have combined alternative metal and goth metal with Middle Eastern elements. But it is safe to say that as of early 2010, melodic death metal bands that are as overtly Middle Eastern-minded as Aeternam are the exception rather than the rule. And Aeternam deserve cheers for both the musicality and the risk-taking spirit that they bring to this promising, memorable CD.

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