Aethyr – Messio …   Leave a comment

Aethyr’s Messio has been released on the great R.A.I.G records, one of my favorite labels as they are a label committed to quality releases both from the point of view of production but also musicianship. However they have often lent towards the prog/psyche rock side of music so this album is a big departure from the usual R.A.I.G records stuff. This duo from Russia play a sludged out doom laden version of blackened instrumental ambient doom that oozes along with distorted, fuzzy guitar, rumbling bass and plodding percussive rhythms. The album is unique right down to the all-black thick cardboard gatefold jacket with silver embossed lettering and symbols that is on the cover, very striking package indeed. The album kicks off with a low-down bass amp roar along with samples of 20th century occultist Aleister Crowley. The extreme buzzing guitar that churns out a simple but wicked sinister droning riff gives off the vibe of perfect background funeral music. Before you get too settled in to the Sunn O))) kind of vibe, it mutates into something different again with a free-form jam that sounds like amps decaying. Some of the drones coming from the bass are so low, it literally can make you nauseous. This is some of the most guttural music of the blackest kind that I have heard from Russia in a long, long time.

That track, “A.c.s I” is followed by “Occultus I” and yes the album is made up of part one and two song-titles and musical passages. “Occultus I” is based around a gigantic doom riff and plodding drums that slowly builds up a hypnotic, trance-like state for around 10 minutes. The sludge seems to become thicker, the longer the track plays as it builds layer upon layer of meandering fuzz-laden guitar sections. Aethyr are no masterminds when it comes to musicianship as this is pretty primitive but they squeeze the most out of every idea, every passage or riff / tempo variation. As the track progresses, ominous chanting is added which sounds like it is coming from zombie-like Gregorian monks. The track is chilling right to its last notes, great hypnotic doom track. “Mass II” continues in a similar, plodding vein but this track is actually kind of melodic. The sinister doom riffage is joined by synthesizer melodies that add a kind of ‘Jesu’ vibe to the track. As the track builds in atmosphere, the tempo is increased which eventually ends with the sound of more burning amps, more droning instruments and another sampled speech from Crowley.

The second half of the disk opens up with “Occultus II” which continues the metallic sludge created in “Occultus I” and there is no real surprises although ‘II’ does take on a more black-metal kind of atmosphere. There is the odd tremolo riff that adds something a bit more traditional to the sound of the track but as usual it always returns to the blackened sludge-doom-drone sound before the song ends. “Ave_S” is not only one of the highlights of the album but also the most different of all the songs on “Messio.” Here the band get very psychedelic but also more traditional in the heavy rock sense. It isn’t that far removed from a Led Zeppelin type of song or arrangement but of course it is 100 times heavier and musically twisted. The high frequency guitars that start the track drill through your brain and at loud volumes, the effect is painful but engaging. There is many psychedelic twists throughout the 12 minutes of “Ave_S” from soaring guitars to deep bass growls to moments of pure amplifier noise but what keeps it interesting is the mesmerizing, dramatic atmosphere of the track. This is the albums highpoint for me and sadly the album never reaches these majestic heights again during its last two tracks.

“Occultus III” and “A.c.s. II” close out the disc with “Occultus III” being the closest they ever get to doing a total drone track. There is nothing really about this track to get too excited about but the last track, “A.c.s” ends the album on an impressive note with more psychedelic, doom-dirge of the highest quality. While it repeats what they have already done earlier in the album, the ambient quality is outstanding and the track ends with some more words from Crowley as the band is almost pushed to the brink of destruction with amplifiers threatening to implode. The chaotic ending is appropriate for an album that is one hell of an apocalyptic soundtrack. Traditional doom fans might not like the drone elements and the ambient drone fan might hear the crushing, psychedelic doom passages as being a bit generic but if you are open to experimetal approaches in doom-metal then you should dig this album from Aethyr. Out now of R.A.I.G Records……8.5/10
Aethyr @ MySpace
Aethyr @ R.A.I.G.


Posted February 25, 2011 by doommantia in Aethyr

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