Every day I discover something that reinforces just how fucking ignorant I am. As if I needed any reminders. Take yesterday for example. Yesterday I learned about a band from Bergen, Norway called Aeternus. They’ve been active since 1993, they released their first album in 1997 (Beyond the Wandering Moon), and five more have followed, with the most recent one (HeXaeon) surfacing in 2006.
Their current line-up includes the band’s founder, Ares (vocals and guitars), who has played with a number of other Norwegian black metal bands over his career, including a stint in Gorgoroth; V’gandr (bass), who’s also a member of Helheim and a live musician with Taake; Phobos (drums), who is also active in a very good band called Gravdal; and Specter (guitars), another member of Gravdal. Despite the pedigree of Aeternus’ members, I’d managed to go through life to this point without ever hearing their music.
What I discovered yesterday was that the band’s label, Dark Essence Records, has uploaded a collection of Aeternus songs to SoundCloud. The music is drawn from throughout the band’s history and includes two songs from HeXaeon (“What I Crave” and “The 9th Revolution”), one from A Darker Monument (2003) (“Sons of War”), one from Ascension of Terror (2001) (“Denial of Salvation”), one from Shadows of Old (1999) (“The Summoning of Shadows”), two from And So the Night Became (1998) (“Warrior of the Crescent Moon” and “Fyrndeheimen”), and one from Beyond the Wandering Moon (“Vind”).
This retrospective is well-timed because after the passage of five years since the last album, the band is now recording their seventh full-length, which should be ready for release sometime in 2012. It allows listeners to trace the path of Aeternus’ music from the early days up to the time of the last release, as a prelude to what will come next. And that’s not all . . .
Dark Essence has also recently created SoundCloud sets for three other Bergen-based bands on their roster — Viking/black-metal band Helheim (whose seventh full-length, Heiðindómr ok mótgangr, came out this year); a brutal, blackened death metal band called Sulphur (whose last album, Thorns In Existence, was released in 2009); and the eccentric (to put it mildly) Vulture Industries, who we featured here at NCS a while back (their last album was The Malefactor’s Bloody Register (2010)) .
Bergen is home to a fuck-ton of ass-kicking metal bands — and these four are among them. Even though Bergen is Norway’s second largest city, it still only has a population (including suburbs) of less than 400,000 people. Apparently, half of them are in metal bands. Other notables include Immortal, Enslaved, Gorgoroth, Taake, Borknagar, Byfrost, Gravdal, Black Hole Generator, Hellish Outcast, and 66Crusher.
I’m including the SoundCloud players that Dark Essence created for all four of the bands mentioned above; the Sulphur songs weren’t packaged in a single set, so I’m only including three of the individual tracks, and you can go here for the rest. This is a lot of music, but it’s worth exploring. You might find something you like, just as I did, even though you’re not nearly as ignorant as I am.
If you’ve only got time to dabble quickly, I’d recommend “Sons of War” by Aeternus (it’s fascinating and unpredictable), “Dualitet og Ulver” from Helheim’s 2011 album (the song is amazing), “Realms of Darkness” by Sulphur (it’s ugly and gut-ripping), and “The Bolted Door” by Vulture Industries (it’s . . . eccentric).
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