There are about a handful of releases I have personally been anticipating this year and today, I will be reviewing what I would call quite possibly, my album of the year hands down. Canada’s Aeternam have returned with their fourth full length and follow up of 2017’s Ruins of Empires titled Al Qassam. I previously reviewed the group’s last endeavor and have sat here waiting patiently to hear this album and I can not say and praise this album enough, it was well worth the three year wait.
It is very tough to describe Aeternam’s sound. The band labels their music as Oriental metal (as tagged before by Orphaned Land) and it is fitting as vocalist/guitarist Achraf Loudiy is Moroccan born. The band’s strongest suit is their use of so many worldly instruments in their tracks and Al Qassam by far features the most to date used by the group. Each track has it’s own story and sound and even has it’s own mood. Don’t get me wrong, this album tips the heaviness scale and headbangs harder but there are beautiful moments where you are taken off to distant lands. Aeternam has perfected the way they can paint a canvas with their own unique flare. Tracks like the self titled Al Qassam and The Bringer of Rain are heavy and epic while tracks like Lunar Ceremony and Palmyra Scriptures (which features the vocals of Kobi Farhi of Orphaned Land) utilize beautiful melodies and clean vocals to show that Loudiy can bellow out some amazing growls and sing like no other.
There is so much to this album that can not truly be put into words. You will go through an emotional roller coaster with this release. Fans of Ruins of Empires will be pleased as well as any new listener. This album has it all from beautiful worldly melodies, heavy and fast riffs, soulful, emotionally driven vocals and balls to the wall heaviness and the way Aeternam blended this perfectly WHILE able to tell and engaging story through the whole cycle of the album is just flawless.
If you want to hear an album that is different, story driven and full of beautiful orchestrations and instrumentals, then listen to this one when it releases March 27th. You will then see why I call this album “album of the year” and can thank me after.
Overall Score: 10/10
Review by Neil Andersen