Aeternus – The Philosopher

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Norway’s supreme death metal act Aeternus enters into its thirtieth year, standing like a staple in the top ranks of the Scandinavian elite bands. Their ninth album “The Philosopher” comes out via Agonia Records on November 17th, 2023. Aeternus finds a gloomy prospect which is encapsulated by cold grim riffing. With the leading member Ares (vocals, guitars) at the helm of a new era, the lineup includes Gorm (guitars), Phobos (drums) and Eld (bass guitar).

In their early years of formation, Aeternus brought sheer originality into the Norwegian black metal scene and Ares with former members Vrolok and Morrigan ensured that there was no other band that tackled their style of dark metal. ‘The Philosopher’ holds true to the dark death metal sound with facets of pagan metal. The opening track ‘The Existential Hunter’ features chilling heavy riffs backed up by a striking battery. The song is carried through grim guitar passages contrasting with the chilling growling of Ares, while the composition imbibes the dim sable atmosphere. The lead guitars stand out alongside the heavy drumming and double bass. The sense of aggression is seamlessly focused on sleek guitars and catchy melodies.

The hammering drums in the track ‘World Bleak Nepotism’ provide depth to the atmospheric rhythm while the song gets grimmer. The guitar solos and leads are centered around the menacing background of the thundering drums. What is remarkable is that Aeternus invokes the ancient epochal sound of past albums like ‘Beyond The Wandering Moon’ and ‘And So The Night Became’. Epic guitar work and the cold wintery atmosphere that it creates define the grimmest and unearthly nature of Aeternus. The elegant touch of the acoustic guitar brings some catchy passages.

The ominous spectacle of the album hovers over the four-minute track ‘The Intentionality of Unmitigated Evil’. It is one of the most memorable songs in the album and begins with a deluge of double bass drums, but somehow the guitars provide a sensible atmosphere and the elements of Celtic music are utilized to create a vast sonic landscape. The drums are decisive as to when to take the tempo by force, and the peal of the thundering percussion which fits in the aesthetics of Aeternus is incredibly showcased.

The fusion of the acoustic guitars in the opening of ‘Void of Venom’ begins calmly and slowly lures your mind. All hell breaks loose when the drums concentrate on fast-paced passages. The rhythm guitars are inspired by black metal and the low, ghastly growls of Ares flow rather beautifully. The nebulous guitar work by the end of the track demonstrates the sophisticated performance.

Throughout the past two decades, the style of Aeternus has evolved into a dark death metal sound and the new album validates the unique sound of the band. ‘Wresting Worm’ moves into the mid-tempo with a capturing mixture of melodic guitars and presents unmatched musical qualities. The up-tempo aggression of the rumbling drums contrasts with the cascading guitar melodies, and the blizzard of Nordic blackened riffs driven by the majestic roars show the inspiration of bands like Bathory and Immortal.

‘The Philosopher’ carries the heaviness of death metal and the epic melodic structures of Norse black metal. It combines the haunting elements of dark metal to fit into the trademark of Aeternus. Wintery themes of spellbinding landscapes serve as a backdrop to the accelerated rise of the tempo. The album has some catchy and splendid guitar leads. The storming drums break loose in the following song ‘The Luciferian Architect’. The low-tuned guitars move slowly as the hammering percussion takes the lead, demonstrating the detailed work of the drums.

Cold chilling riffs soar through an epic scale. The astonishing mix of the acoustic guitars are executed in such a wit. The final track ‘Carving the Pristine Anomie’ begins with clean guitar strings and creates a perfect opening to this epic song. While the tempo roams through the raging riffs and atmospheric passages, so dark that it allows the instrumentation to shimmer. Likewise, we can find plenty of thundering blast beats that bind these elements together. The brutal fills of the crushing drums along with the roaring growls are the strength of the band.


  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 9/10

‘The Philosopher’ redefines the dark sound of Aeternus and delivers ultimate musicianship that honors the band’s achievements in the past and present and comes highly recommended for fans of Bathory, Immortal and Hades Almighty.

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