Hello and welcome back to the Bandcamp Buried Treasure article series, where I'll be hunting down Buy It Now/Free Download-payment option albums on Bandcamp by the best bands you've never heard! The goal is to introduce you to smaller bands or obscure side-projects you might not have heard of. Anything to expand your musical horizons by just a little bit each week, all while keeping your cost (potentially) down! This week we'll be listening to Los Angeles' own funky, groovy, technical upcoming metal masters Aestus!
Aestus appear to be a pretty new band, with their Psychonaut EP being the first thing they've ever released (and only just last month). I'm not pointing that out to make you like their music any more because they're relatively new or anything, because fortunately the music stands well enough on its' own regardless of the age of the band. While it's generally pretty simple to say a band has a diversified sound based on the that, for instance, they've thrown in a little bit of jazz and grindcore in with their otherwise progressive metal sound is getting a little bit overdone. Sure it's diverse, but in the grand scheme of the release where does that diversification lead me that, had it been left out, would have been different? This is exactly where Aestus succeeds.
The album kicks off with a pretty heavy, almost djenty jam called "Fever Dream," which sets the mood nicely; it's heavy enough to get you interested and set the standard for what the band wants to portray as "heavy," but it's not a try-hard heavy where everything absolutely has to sound like Periphery and Meshuggah and Tesseract and generic noun band (I lost track of that scene). Then following that up is "The Scavenger," which is pretty much what everyone wanted Korn to do since the late 90s and they just kind of never did. The difference here is that I actually like this and the vocals are well-thought out and catchy in a Sevendust-kind of way… or to put it simply, not what Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis has been doing. Yay! "Lobotomy Party" takes a turn back for the heavy, "Unbound" is a solid mixture of all the sounds we've heard this far with a little bit of ambience thrown in there toward the end with just a dash of breakdown-ish-ness. "Bones" is another heavy jam, and then "Umbra" is just straight up ridiculous driving Lamb-of-God-meets-old-Killswitch-Engage jams… just brutal as all hell and a great way to end the album.
Again, the key here is a diverse listen. You're going to remember each one of the songs by some riff or vocal line or section, and without looking you'll know where you are on the album. To me, that's always the hallmark of an album worth listening to; something that I'm silently jamming along to in my head eve when I'm not actively listening to it. Best of luck to Aestus on their journey as a band, but I don't think they're going to need luck all too much. They've got talent.