Aug 9, 2013

Aquilus - Griseus (2011)

Aquilus "Griseus"
Late winter 2011, Blood Music

So, Aquilus is a guy from Assassin's Creed, interesting. You can read about him here. As for the band, its an Australian project by one guy named Waldorf, and he plays "atmospheric metal" as he describes it. "Griseus" is the one and only full length by the band, and im troubled with the subgenre, since its too poor to describe the actual music here.

Aquilus are heavily influenced by classical music, as there are a lot of moments of combined black metal with neoclassical syntheses in the album. Besides that, there are even more neoclassical parts alone, which makes the album majestic and orchestral. It sounds like the darker side of classical music in general, since the compositions are mostly dark and haunting, which brings me to the conclusion that the fitting subgenre is "neoclassical black metal". That sounds more like the epicness of the content here.

This guy is an extremely talented musician, to a level that it's hard to think he composed this album all by himself. Every aspect of it is perfectly crafted and brilliant, from the atmospheric black metal, to the ambient/classical parts. The first song "Nihil", is a 14 minute masterpiece, and one of my favourite songs off the album. It consists of a powerful intro and black metal with amazing vocals, it continues with acoustic guitars and then pianos and keys again. Throughout its length, the different musical ideas of Waldorf are flourishing and creating all kinds of different emotions, keeping the listener hooked to the earphone. It depicts the full dynamic of his capabilities. The second track "Loss", is more depressive, starts of with a sad piano melody. There are two heavier parts in the song, but still they are sorrowful and somehow nostalgic. I really liked the vocal monologue in the end of the song, probably was done with effects but sounded amazing. Behemoth's Slaves Shall Serve intro came to mind, but in a more artistic way. The next track "Smokefall", again moves between atmospheric black metal and acoustic/piano clean parts, but by know im familiar and aware of the charisma he has to blend them so harmonically together. There are some influences from eastern music, which is a new element in the album. It ends with a sorrowful piano part and im almost in love with his connection to that particular instrument. The song lasts 7 minutes and its one of the shortest in the album.

Next comes "In The Land of Ashes", which is mainly classical and deeply beautiful. It has some folk elements and it has small bits of vocals in whispers/growls and drums, mostly counting on the acoustic guitars. It is a warmer composition, and describes its title, since it would fit as a background of the world's aftermath. "Latent Thistle" comes out with heaviness immidiately and here some of the guitar riffs and solos are more conspicuous than usual. The acoustic parts are not absent, again with a folk touch and an amazing piano line in the end. The album flows as a calm river. The following track "Arboreal Sleep" is just as palatial as the rest, moves between acoustic black metal with whispering vocals and atmospheric black metal with clean chanting vocals. The clean parts with the whispers reminded me of Summoning a bit. There is a piano part in the middle of the track as well, giving the black metal parts one portion at the time, to keep the listener constantly hungry. The next song "The Fawn", is again one of my favourite. It starts off with a magnificent piano melody (again), which slowly builds up and explodes to the main song, one of the heaviest in the album. The synths and the vocals are omnipotent, the only mellow moment that's maintaining the peace is the classical piano in the end.  The last song of the album is called "Night Bell" and it could be reviewed, all by itself. It lasts 17 minutes and it contains all the musical ingredients of the band in one awesome track. It is the epitome of neoclassical black metal, at its finest.

What comes to get the album a little bit closer to excellence is the lyrics. As much as i don't really care about them in an album, that much mesmerizing they are here, with superb stories and words, poetic, natural and really artistic. I can't think of a band that sounds like Aquilus, but the people that will enjoy would also like bands like Wolves In the Throne Room or Agalloch. A marriage between Emperor and Beethoven, maybe. Whatever it is, you're going to experience something amazing. Children should be taught of this album. Orchestras should play it.
DAMAGE: 9.5/10

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