While bands such as Indonesia
have fused elements of jazz into death metal, at the other end of the spectrum, bands like Sigh
have over the years gradually morphed into something totally different and radical from where they started off from with the jazzy sounds and bombastic orchestral arrangements in their music. Similar to the aforementioned bands, Aenaon
has also incorporated such jazz elements into their music, yet manage to retain the black metal edge as will be evident in their debut full length album, Cendres et Sang
was introduced to me as a black metal band, it was definitely surprising when the track opened with Kafkaesque,a 45 second instrumental introductory track, sounding like some sort of jazzy lounge music, complete with saxophones. This will however not be the only jazz reference that one would encounter as tracks later in the album will further incorporate them as well, displaying the versatility of the musicians in the band. Don't be fooled by the soothing saxophones and bossa nova drum beats on Suncord as the band goes into extreme mode without warning, with the growls of vocalist Astrous and the aggressive and razor sharp guitar riffs of Achilleas and Dagwn. The band constantly displays their ability to go from one mode into another throughout the music right from the beginning, such as on Suncord, as the melodic yet technical guitar solo with little warning breaks into yet another jazzy section again in the middle of the track before ending the song with a bang.
Vocalist Astrous constantly alternates between growls and clean vocals, yet manages to maintain the emotional quality whenever required on the various tracks. On songs like Suncord, his growls, while energy filled, somehow have a tinge of sadness in them, and his clean vocals are equally filled with desperation, yet on other tracks the aggression just breaks through the rest of the instruments, seemingly taking charge of the direction of where the band is headed towards. Grand Narcotic Harvest in particular stands out as one of the tracks that fully displays his vocal abilities, complete with the layering of growls on top of the clean singing.
The drumming on the album is also technical, with beats on songs like Psychonautic Odyssey having odd time signatures. That
aside, the jazzy interludes also at times incorporate drumming patterns not common in extreme metal, and provide a fresh sound for Aenaon
to the over-saturated metal scene. The usage of various sound effects such as the on Grand Narcotic Harvest adds a somewhat haunting atmosphere to the songs as well. The polished production quality on Cendres et Sang
is definitely suitable for the music and certainly increases the enjoyment value of the album.
If one ever doubted the ability for any band to fuse elements of music at the opposite ends of the musical spectrum and manage to keep the listener attracted throughout, Aenaon
's the band to check out for they have certainly managed to pull this off well, with not one moment wasted in the 50 minutes journey that is Cendres et Sang