This year the Hungarian black metal band Aetherius Obscuritas celebrate their 21st year of existence by releasing their ninth album overall. Bearing the name A sors szürke pora (“The Grey Dust of Predestination”), it will hit the streets on April 15th through the cooperation of Ukraine-based GrimmDistribution and the U.S. label Paragon Records.
The last time we spoke of this veteran band was in 2020, when they released Mártír, the immediate predecessor to A sors szürke pora. We wrote then:
The Hungarian black metal band Aetherius Obscuritas are certainly capable of mounting musical assaults of cut-throat savagery and spine-tingling wildness, but what makes their new album Mártír stand out from the barbaric pack is, for want of a better word, their adventurousness. The compositions are elaborate and multi-faceted, and the results can seem like musical potions that produce enthralling as well as electrifying effects.
We’ve repeated that little summary because you’ll find some of those same adjectives in our following descriptions of two songs from the new album, one of which we’re happily premiering today — “Cloak of Wolves“.
Here again, the new album is the work of the dynamic duo Viktor (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards) and Zson (drums). Here again, they’ve proven that the passing of decades hasn’t dulled their creative spirit. The music is as sinister and head-spinning as ever, and maybe even more so.
“Cloak of Wolves” doesn’t race or ravage at first. Though the vivid and impressively elaborate drum eruptions do put bursts of electricity into the experience, the music is more languid than lacerating. Everything reverberates, and the guitars create a mysterious and mesmerizing form of seduction. Yet where we’re being led is into an increasingly perilous place.
The drumming becomes more relentlessly riotous, and the riffing more unchained and unpredictable, just in time for Viktor to snarl and scream with eye-popping intensity. The stringed instruments and the drumming continue to twist and turn relentlessly, pushing and pulling the energy as the guitars weave webs that glisten and ensnare, embellished by woozy and wailing tendrils of melody that slowly slither through those chiming and cavorting arpeggios, which are perpetually magical despite (or maybe because of) their dissonant elements.
The vocals are relentlessly crazed, coming for your throat with no holds barred, and the surrounding music also reaches a zenith of attacking adventurousness which, somehow, is simultaneously mind-mangling and enthralling.
We’ll be surprised if most of you aren’t ensnared by that one song, but another one (the title track) is also out in the world. It opens the album in attention-seizing fashion. It too makes abundant use of ringing guitar sorcery, technically impressive and intrepid drumwork that continually threatens to steal the show, and constant changes in tempo and mood.
But if anything the song is even more dynamic and elaborate than the song we’ve premiered today. It includes moody, clean-sung vocal harmonies in addition to those mentally lacerating snarls and screams, and swaths of melody that flow in keyboard-enhanced tones of grand tragedy. But the music also staggers in bereavement and seems to ignite in flames of agony.
GrimmDistribution and Paragon Records will release the album in a jewel-case CD edition with an 8-page booklet, as well as digitally. They recommend it for fans of Ragnarok, Satyricon, Taake. and Mgła.