Aegaeon’s new release is proof not only that deathcore has life left in it, but also that they’re definitely at the forefront of the bands I’d call truly legit. They’ve released a killer debut Dissension and now this EP, Being, on a totally independent basis, funded straight out of their own pockets — merch and all. They don’t seem to be at all concerned with finding a label, which gives the band a sort of hard-edged DIY ethic that comes through in their already cathartic brutality.
They play a style of deathcore that is not only absolutely unrelenting in its brutality, it also comes with a very morose sense of ambience and atmosphere. Dare I say Insomnium-ish, in a way? A lot of this EP has a rather doomy characteristic to it as well, which gives the music a real sense of heft and also helps establish a standout identity for Aegaeon, one that was already pretty well-cemented based solely on vocalist/living-Cthulu Jim Martin.
Being is only 6 songs long, but it’s an ethereal yet pulverizing journey. It seems obvious to me it’s meant to be listened to that way, from start through to finish, because all of the songs bleed into each other. The inside of the digipack case I have before me even states in big font, “Being is best experienced from beginning to end with no breaks”. I agree.
The track simply entitled “Introduction” is very deceptive. It’s the most soothing, most spacey melodic ambience I think I’ve ever heard. It serves as a nice segue into the album’s official opener “Demise”, which is a monstrous snake-charmer’s groove, combining low-end sludge and poignant mournful lead work to create an arresting experience. It segues through more of the same calming ambience into “Human”, a monstrous tribal deathcore carpet-bombing cascade. The stone-splitting grooves, wind-sheering tremolo riffage, and eerie, almost Vildhjarta-esque, clean guitars that hang in the back of it all create, once again, an arresting mood that causes me to just lose myself in what is going on.
“The Memory” is one of the songs that definitely has a doom metal character. It’s plodding, despite its machine-gun, stop-and-start chugs. The symphonic’s bring forth a quality to the music that feels very introspective. More of that mournful lead work is back in full swing here as well. All of these elements, combined, create a deathcore song with an emotional gravitas.
The song transitions into “Ineffable”, which is sort of “The Memory” Part 2. The same doomy pace is maintained, while the ideas evolve even further.
A beautiful symphonic outro leads into the album’s closer, “Catharsis”. It’s the shortest song on the album next to the intro track, but also the most brutal. It’s full of technical tremolo-based riffing and slams that could crack a planet. Blast beats aplenty, too. The song returns to the same general symphonic idea running through “The Memory” and “Ineffable” to end things peacefully. Peaceful in the sense of death washing over you.
The mix of Being is a refreshing change from standard deathcore fare. It’s like a thick fog-cloud of open air and tribal concussive tones. The sound is definitely still heavy though, megaton massive and full of character. It’s funny for me to realize that this band has done all of their mixing at a studio that is only an hour away from my location.
Jim Martin is also still THE deathcore vocalist to me right now. No one has a voice as powerful and consuming as this man does.
This EP gets a heavy recommendation from me. These guys are proving themselves to be far more than the sum of their genre.