Tech-Death Tuesday: Atmospheric Shred Wizards AETHEREUS Unveil Full Stream of Absentia
Hey there tech fiends, it's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual reminder that if you're looking for more sick music, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
Back in 2015, I covered an incredible EP here by up-and-comers Aethereus called Ego Futurus, which was actually my second time entering the world of Aethereus after having been made aware of their debut in 2013 under their former moniker called Seker. Given that, I’m really happy that we’re launching a full early stream of their new album Absentia here today ahead of its release this Friday, August 10th through The Artisan Era.
When discussing Ego Futurus at the time, I discussed it as an atypically cerebral and ethereal spin on proggy tech-death, and throughout Absentia those impressive aspects of the music have continued to fuel their approach, arguably given even larger roles this go around. The mood and musical style here shifts a lot depending on the song at hand, and Aethereus again seems eager to cover as much ground as possible without feeling like anything touched upon is done simply to stay fresh on what’s popular at the moment for the genre.
Absentia is quite the diverse album, skillfully separating and combining their wide array of specific sub-style elements in varied manners to create a mix of both cohesion and distinction on each song from start to finish. Likewise, much as the genre is often solely guitar focused to the core, Aethereus have always had very prominent and impressive bass guitar presence in their music that crushes the competition, as bassist Scott Hermanns certainly adds that something extra which absolutely elevates this to a higher place. Having said that, the guitar duo of Kyle Chapman and Ben Gassman are impressive as hell and Absentia is jam-packed with an absurd amount of their killer riffs and jaw-dropping lead work. New vocalist Vance Bratcher from The Devils of Loudon has a demonic presence and delivery that perfectly fits the music like a glove. Lastly, Matt Behner’s drumming is a destructive force powerfully driving the music forwards, yet nuanced and creative enough in his playing to eschew mere endless blasting as the default drum approach here.
I’d also say that there is more of a clearly defined technical melodic death element found throughout Absentia, though that too was evident in some of their prior songs on past releases. The biggest step up here beyond the increased progressive and atmospheric focus lies in the dense and richly layered songwriting approach Aethereus has grown into over the years. Music this intricate, and more importantly, this well written, takes time, trial and error, and a few releases under your belt to achieve.
The key feeling I get from endless spins of Absentia is of a purposefully crafted balance between worlds, not only uniting but gracefully combining a ton of different death metal and technical death metal styles together with ease. Leading to an end result where a very clear and purposeful striving to create something new arises organically, not wholly derivative of anything, but more so the direct decade-long culmination of their talent and passion reaching mature fruition. Between the underlying album concept tying into the sadly tragic passing of one of its core members, plus the strong progressive and atmospheric gravitas buoying Absentia, this album has a very emotive and unique vibe to it not often found in the genre which adds another memorable dimension in each song.
If you weren’t already paying attention to Aethereus, Absentia is a powerful wake-up call, as this band is on to something great and fans of the genre would be wise to check them out. So jam our early stream of Absentia below, and if you’re digging it, you can pre-order it in merch bundle form here or through Bandcamp here. You can follow the group over on the Aethereus Facebook Page as well.