Rise to Dominate (Metal Blade)
By Tim Den
When Sweden’s Aeon first burst onto the death metal scene in 2001, their five-song demo was so good that it was deemed releasable as an EP by Necropolis Records. Dark Order might have fallen on deaf ears because of poor distribution, but it certainly made an impact on yours truly. Here was a band that came out of nowhere, seemingly fully formed in their sonic identity, playing Floridian styled death metal better than what their forefathers were putting out at the time. How was it possible that such a young band could be so ahead of the curve so early on in their career? Surely, I thought, “Aeon are going to be HUGE.”
Six years and two label changes later, Aeon sadly remain an underground whisper. But hopefully, with Metal Blade behind them, that will change soon, cuz Rise to Dominate shows that the quintet are just as powerful as the day they started. Inspired by various Floridian juggernauts, Aeon borrow the eerie intervals and occasional dirges of Morbid Angel, Legion-era Deicide’s rhythmic mastery, and newer Cannibal Corpse’s penchant for quick tempo changes to come up with a combination that’s more than the sum of its parts. Don’t let the fact that their influences are clearly audible deter ya: Aeon somehow make it sound fresher than anything their inspirations have released in, eh, eons. Just check out the neck-snapping grooves of “Spreading Their Disease” and “Hate Them.” Not since Deicide’s “Holy Deception” has a band learned how to pit vocal accentuations against a wall of counterrhythms this well. There are grooves within the vocals, grooves within the breakdowns, even grooves within the fast beats. If kicking ass in the pit was why you loved Floridian death metal in the first place, get ready to wear out your knuckles.
Elsewhere, “You Pray to Nothing” and “There Will Be No Heaven For Me” would make Gateways to Annihilation proud, and “When the War Comes”‘ erratic structure could easily have fit on The Wretched Spawn. Closer “No One Escapes Us” echoes a bit too much of Morbid Angel’s “Hatework” (itself the closer on Domination) for my comfort, but it’s still a brooding, menacing hell simmer. Even new bassist Max Carlberg, who only joined the band a few months prior to the recording of Rise to Dominate, pitches in with the complex “Godless.” If this standard of quality goes unheard in the scene, then there is no hope for extreme music.
Rise to Dominate is pure, visceral, catchy, brutal, and smart Floridian death metal which reminds us what the genre used to be able to produce. This shit is magical, folks. With Aeon around, no one will be able to say Sweden now only puts out melodic death metal.