Genre: Experimental/Progressive Black Metal
Label: Code666 Records
During the past six(or so) years, there has been a pretty small part of the Greek black metal scene (Aenaon, Hail Spirit Noir, This Is Past, Morpheus Tales) which tries (or tried, in the case of the now inactive This Is Past) to graft the boundaries of the genre with seemingly bizarre strands, ending up in results that are interesting to say the least. Aenaon, coming (mostly) from central Greece, are just about to release their third full-length, “Hypnosophy,” having previously presented their take on avant-garde, characterized by technical and compositional prowess, specializing in the creation of addictive tracks.
In its (crucial for many) third full-length, the group spreads its vision upon a almost-an-hour-long temporal canvas; a vision consisting of orgiastic and fanfare loving extreme metal, which is finely introduced by the torrentuous “Oneirodynia,” the first track that was unveiled. Radically flung among a blast storm riffs give solemnly way to a saxophone oscillating between noir melancholy and festive temper – both jazzy in essence, – to be replaced in their turn by dramatic mid-tempo vocal elegies and progressively hued guitar mannerisms. This is a motif that expands throughout the album, creating a colorful mass. The dominant male vocals reciprocate between clean melodic hues and extreme aspects – as for the extreme manifestations, they have been surprisingly improved (just listen to how Attila’s legacy is incorporated in the ending of “Phronesis – Psychomagic”), while the scarce female vocals remind of The Gathering’s Anneke.
Diversity is the core structural feature of the album: black metal storms alternate with parts that bring in to mind the avant-garde convenience and eeriness of Devil Doll (especially concerning the paranoiac clean vocals), guitar solo go hand in hand with rolling riffs that wouldn’t sound amiss in Cradle Of Filth’s good era (listen to “Earth Tomb”), and though the “verse-chorus-verse” is somewhat dominant, the end result is charged with progress. Theatricality is always present, especially in the scattered polyphonics, contributing to the creation of a festive atmosphere. A thing pretty strange for a black metal album, which however does not un-black the end result – even though the album is far from being a traditional black metal record per se.
Aenaon, as Hail Spirit Noir, succeed in presenting three out of three great albums, seemingly effortlessly, a thing to be admired, but also leading to puzzlement as far as what kind of improvement can we expect in the future. “Hypnosophy” is a kaleidoscope wandering through a never-ending celebration, which, despite the use of instruments unorthodox as far as black metal is concerned (apart from the saxophone there are also string ones like bouzouki and shitar – building up to a kind of ethnic essence in parts), has not severed its ties with the mothership genre – the album’s beginning and ending clearly state so.