Aethyr are truly one of the most talented bands from Russia that metal fans need to know more about. Being active since 2009, Corpus is the group’s first full-length release. Mixing together elements of drone and black metal, it would be simple to imagine them as the result of a baby created by Have a Nice Life and Indian. It may seem a bit lofty to compare a band who just released their first album to such great acts, but Corpus shows an insane amount of potential for Aethyr moving forward.
The first thing that is noticed when Corpus starts up is how truly heavy and brooding it is. There are frighteningly sharp moments all over this record. “Nihil Grail” features the disruptive drums that black metal is known for, while also being relatively clean on the production front to make vocals and guitars easier to read as well. The nasty snarls presented on the vocal front are fairly rancid, but typical of the black metal genre. The main aspect that separates Aethyr from their peers is the fearlessness to make a drone based track with virtually no guitar presence halfway through the album. “The Gnostic Mass” is all drone based utilizing only vocal samples that sounded like someone watching a tape of their own lobotomy and the horrific reaction they would have. Corpus feels like a competent black and drone metal record at the same time, displaying extreme control and maturity with the music itself.
There are really very few issues with the record as a whole. The black metal tracks on the record can become a bit too predictable, relying on timing the solo and heavier portions in a simplified manner. None of these tracks are anything less than quality, but the formula can become hard to handle. The production is a bit of a double-edged sword as well. The cleaner sound is surprisingly good for the final product, but a few of the earlier tracks could use slightly more grit to keep the vibe moving toward an even darker edge.
Aethyr are a black metal band that needs to be attracting more attention in the years to come. To see a band release a full-length debut that can easily feature quality black and drone tracks is quite a feat, especially when the mood never becomes any less palpable throughout. Corpus is a great example of how both black and doom metal should sound like, which shows an immense amount of maturity and skill from Aethyr.
1. Nihil Grail
2. Sanctus Satanicus
5. The Gnostic Mass