Grandeur fuel black metal with bleeding, wholly gushing heart on blazing debut EP ‘Aurea Aetas’

Black metal is a wonderfully fluid thing, an art form that has a spine and a center for sure, but over time, it has grown so many different parts, it’s often unrecognizable in its original form. It’s always weird to see its fan cement their ragged boots into the ground and protest any time a band tries to take chances or expand its borders like they have any ownership. Its ability to shapeshift is why it thrives still.

Helmed by lone artist Erech, Grandeur is a black metal experience that maintains many of the tenets of the style but also injects human passion, steaming intensity, and a hemorrhaging heart that makes the project’s first EP “Aurea Aetas” such a stimulating listen. Over four tracks and nearly 18 minutes, Erech (he also plays in other bands including Ancient Mastery, Carathis, and the very weird Golden Blood) unleashes a savage spirit and a destructive force that’s such a great time to experience but that also could grab you and drag you under the surface before you even know what struck you.

“I: Acatalepsia” starts with eerie synth draining before a black metal burst strikes, and wild shrieks swarm and jeopardize your safety. The track pummels while melody collects, riffs swim in heavy storming, and your blood rushes as the playing ends with force. “II: Exordium” has guitars echoing before the levee breaks and the playing rips at your guts, paving the way for a tidal wave of melodies to strike. The guitars continue their ascent before the temperature cools off significantly, and then everything charges again. The shrieks tears through sanity, and the final moments deliver a coffin blow that knocks you out. “III: Ultimum” delivers encircling riffs and a pace that blasts through rock, with the urgency spiking while the vocals hammer. The playing chugs and gives off steam, the fury is wrecking to your intestines, and the melody splatters, getting some of that filth in your mouth. “IV: Aurea Aetas” closes the collection by igniting right away as the shrieks are abrasive, and the riffs sound like they’re boiling in tar. A brief respite for the temperature to drop sets in, but then things soar anew, with the guitars galloping and driving. Somehow Erech finds an avenue for making things even more raucous, passionate playing floods the senses, and the riffs stir one final time, bringing things to an abrupt end.

Grandeur’s promising start with this EP proves that black metal still has urgency and power, as long as it’s in the right hands. “Aurea Aetas” is a mini burst of clobbering madness, a release that doesn’t quite make it to 18 minutes but still manages to leave heavy markings. This is just the beginning for this band, and the future is bound to be nasty.

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