Aug 302022

(DGR wrote the following extensive review of a new album by Aeternam, which is coming out this Friday, September 2nd.)

The career path that Quebec’s Aeternam have taken in the lead-up to their latest album Heir Of The Rising Sun – their fifth overall –  has an interesting amount of twists and turns in it for a group whose genre descriptors boil down to a blackened death metal/folk metal hybrid. It’s the case with many other bands as well, but obviously those are dealing in differing shades, and in Aeternam‘s it feels more like a fight between two different styles, with each album a different snapshot at different points in that battle.

To say that the folk metal side has been winning out would be putting it politely of course, but that descriptor is inadequate here because “folk metal” often tends to conjure up imagery of a bunch of extra musicians with accordions, hurdy-gurdys, and flutes rather than a means of highlighting the music’s cultural aspects. Aeternam have often pulled from Middle Eastern history and mythology, and so too you often hear instrumentation from that region.

At first Aeternam used this effect in combination with a heavy Behemoth influence but over the years the band have lightened up – with perspective here, the band remain fairly heavy in comparison to a lot of other bands – and instead have become something more of a show, allowing themselves to stretch in a variety of different directions. In the case of Heir Of The Rising Sun, Aeternam have decided to make a thematic concept album focused on one period of time centered on the closing song ‘The Fall Of Constantinople’ – with all of the flavorings suggested therein. Continue reading »

Jan 162021



This past week I missed two days in the rollout of this list, for reasons explained when I was able to resume it. I also mentioned that I might try to catch up this weekend, et voila!

As the alert warns you, or maybe entices you, all three of today’s selections involve singing, and thus run counter to the rule in our site’s title. But as regular NCS visitors know, that’s never been an iron-clad rule. We have always made exceptions where exceptions are well-earned, and they are in the case of these songs. Plus, I found these songs highly infectious, so much so that I could not in good conscience omit from this list. (And these won’t be the last partially or wholly clean-sung songs to make the list.)


Reunions and come-backs are a whole lot more miss than hit, but holy shit, have Cirith Ungol been hitting it out of the park since they came back together after almost 20 years of inactivity. Along with some great live shows, their 2018 single “Witch’s Game” was a sign that the band still had it. And last year brought further proof with the release of Forever Black, their first studio album since 1991’s Paradise Lost. Continue reading »

Jun 232020


(Three months after its release, DGR finally dug into the fourth album by the Québec band Aeternam and is damned glad he did, as explained in this extensive review.)

Easily one of my biggest brick walls in terms of recent writing, because I have kept going back to it, over and over.

I wracked my brain for a while wondering where exactly I had picked up on Montreal’s hybrid symphonic death/folk/blackened-death metal group Aeternam and their new disc released in March, Al Qassam. It’s been a ghost haunting the backlog for a little while now, until it occurred to me that we hadn’t really covered the lead-up to their new disc at all.  Our most recent mention of them was due to vocalist/guitarist Achraf Loudiy appearing on Egyptian death metal group Scarab’s new disc, Martyrs Of The Storm — also released in March.

The whole reason they’d remained in the ‘keep an eye on’ pile was due to a handful of enthusiastic reader recommendations for them in previous years during our year-end list roundups. In fact, I think both 2012’s Moongod and 2017’s Ruins Of Empires are part of my collection now due to those recommendations. So, Al Qassam and its excellent cover art have been waiting for a proper look up and down almost since its announcement.

Given my current quest to sweep through the early parts of the year for anything we might’ve missed on top of the usual collection of albums I’m prone to dive into, finally diving headfirst into Aeternam’s latest felt like a natural thing to do. And wow, what a fantastic choice that has been proving to be. Continue reading »