One listen to Aeternam's debut album Disciples of the Unseen would teleport you to the arid and completely barren landscapes of the Middle East. You would feel like you're cruising around giant deserts, controlling ancient curses and trying to unleash the powers of an all-knowing genie...who sounds strangely familiar to Robin Williams. However, a closer look at these metal newcomers would reveal similarities to your thirteen-year-old sister, not because this album is covered in cute little pink bunnies, but because the members of this band have a serious identity crisis. One would assume that the musicians that comprise Aeternam call Saudi Arabia or Iran home, but you would be dead wrong! This band, when not out on the road, calls the French Neighborhoods of Quebec, Canada their home. My first concern upon finding this out was the authenticity of their sound. I was afraid I was going be hearing a group of snow-covered posers trying to pull off the harsh summer heat of the Middle East, but within a few seconds of pressing play I knew I was about to be proven wrong.
From the moment "Ars Almadel" kicks in, to the very last notes of "Through the Eyes of Ea", this band takes hold of your skull and doesn't let go. Forcing you to uncontrollably bang your head over and over to the native instruments of the Middle East blended so perfectly with the crushing riffs of any modern day metal giant. The album is a perfect combination of lightning fast blast beats and guitar solos mixed with melodic keyboards and beautiful acoustic interludes. Aeternam's vocalist, Achraf Loudiy, does a spectacular job switching back and forth from low guttural vocals to clean vocal stylings that are reminiscent of tribal chants found in an Indiana Jones flick. The band stays true to their sound without becoming boring and repetitious. They constantly reinvent their music into something even more fresh, and every song is better than the last. Each track holds untold secrets and twists that make this album sound like an epic journey full of time signature changes, unparalleled technicality and catchy, yet brilliant choruses.
It's surprising to find out that Disciples of the Unseen is this band's first album! Based on the song structure alone, any foolish passerby would assume these guys have been at it for years. This album is splattered with subtle nuances that turn a good album into a great album. These guys may not know where they come from but they certainly know where they want to be...the top! With only one album under their belts, it will be interesting to see what's next from Aeternam. One thing is for sure, you will definitely be hearing more from these guys in the near future. RIYL: Melechesh and Nile.