This Greek/Finnish doom outfit arrives with the follow-up to the debut album Into The Eternity A Moment We Are. The talented singer Gogo Melone is back with Aeonian Sorrow and has recruited a new drummer and singer. No idea if Bart Alfvoet, who reviewed the debut album, has put aside his box of tissues, but it might be time to get it back.
For the readers that do no know the band, Aeonian Sorrow’s music can be described as a mixture of gothic, doom and death metal. Now and then there’s a modest excursion to the funeral genre, but this is an exception. Most of the time the tempo is just a bit too fast and thus we arrive at dynamic doom death with gothic influences. But let’s leave all that superfluous genre categorizing and talk about the music itself.
Lamenting chants combined with (often) polyphonic grunts, it’s a trick we have known for quite some time. The title track is exemplary of what the whole album brings. It is also the longest track, starting with singing in Greek, probably dealing with the Katara Pass, a mountain pass in the North of Greece. Gogo Melone had to cross this mountain pass for years to visit her (now late) grandparents. This album is dedicated to her grandparents and traveling across that mountain pass. The release of this album was all but self-evident as motivation was hard to find. And still here is Katara, as a promise to grandparents and the reason why Gogo started this band. Giving emotions a musical form, mournful emotions expressed in the various tracks.
Opening track Anemos is graced with a delightful break and after more or less five minutes it is all about ‘tristesse’. Here, the depressing keyboards bear a strong resemblance to a band like Clouds. The manner in which the keys are followed through with a somewhat different variation on Elumia assures that the album quickly feels like a whole, which is – Katara being a concept album – obviously a good thing. The polyphony mentioned before can be heard really well during the second song and comes across magnificently. And I have to ask myself if Aeonian Sorrow has given us a new diamond of an album, as the band is able to captivate, even while most songs surpass a duration of seven minutes.
The thrilling opening of Ashes And Death, with its whirling guitar parts and varied singing and grunting will persuade without further ado. And still, from time to time, it is hard to completely lose yourself in the music. Her Torment is a heavier track with a leading role for grunter Joel. This guy has an awesome primordial roar that contrasts nicely with the high chanting of lady Melone. As the ending approaches, ritual chants are added that remind strongly of Natalie Koskinen (from, among others, Shape Of Despair fame). The following title track is without any doubt my personal highlight of Katara. Starting with mystical singing, the track explodes quite quickly and violently. With a lot of dynamics on guitars and drums we are treated to monstrous grunts and after a while the tempo slows somewhat to make room for the classical singing voice. It is striking that, during this wide variety of esoteric and complex arrangements, the grunts put out by lord Notkonen are of an even heavier kind. I have no difficulty imagining being actually at the mountain pass, in the midst of rocks and stone and darkness. I do not get lost, however, as the keyboard parts in the middle of the song are pointing the way. A short passage of funeral doom follows with some captivating guitar parts. This is a tearjerker from the highest order!
And as if this was not enough, Forbidden Cry has some more funeral minded music in store. The cadence is in most cases at the ‘faster’ side of funeral, but the part with (almost exclusive) a capella singing only strengthens the atmosphere. A desperate yet powerful singing voice fills the air. This track is different, with some longer bass and guitar parts. A welcome change, especially when the all-searing grunt, together with the thundering instrumentation, make their appearance. Katara ends with eternal, aeonian sorrow, or Ikuinen Suru, dealing with the misery of the whole world. Painfully beautiful music, and an immeasurable amount of tissues will be needed…
My colleague Bart has been warned. But you have been too, as this heaven provoking serenade goes straight to the centre of your feelings. The sharp vocal eruptions of lord Notkonen add a portion of pure horror and despair. I am gradually getting the feeling that I want to comfort and hug all band members and tell them that, someday, things will be all right, even if this might not be during this lifetime.
- Ashes And Death
- Her Torment
- Forbidden Cry
- Ikuinen Suru
- Joel Notkonen – Vocals
- Gogo Melone – Vocals, keyboards
- Taneli Jämsä – Guitars
- Achilleas Papagrigoriou – Drums
- Jukka Jauhiainen – Guitars
- Oskar Englund – Bass