I have fairly strange reading patterns in that I’ll tend to spend long periods of time getting into fiction novels, mostly series, and tearing through them before I sink into a different set of interconnected books, something that seems to last until I run out of steam for a while. There’s something about a series that keeps my interest engaged and my thirst for reading at a high level.
Swiss black metal force Aara obviously isn’t cranking out books, but they’re keeping up with their recorded material that has exploded over the past few years, releasing four full-length albums ever since they arrived in 2018. Their latest is “Triade II: Hemera,” the middle part of their trilogy about 1820 novel Memloth the Wanderer by Irish Protestant clergyman and playwright Charles Robert Maturin, telling the story of a man who sold his soul to the devil for another 150 years of existence on earth. Maybe that was a better deal in the 19th Century than it is now. The band’s hyper-melodic, emotionally charged black metal reaches even higher levels on this record, and the band—vocalist/lyricist Fluss, guitarist/bassist/sample maker Berg, drummer J.—finds a way to bridge the work from the first part here and then stretches it even further into the stratosphere. They keep getting markedly better.
“Phantasmagorie” gets off to a strange start as noises waft, the sounds collect, and then the guitars churn and catch fire, bursting with strangling melodies. The leads spiral as Fluss’ vocals pierce your hearing and burrow into your brain, her shrieks slicing you apart. Angelic chorals well, something that ties it sonically to Part 1, the pace crushes, and atmospheric energy leaves everything smeared into the earth. “Adoaina’s Elegien” delivers guitars that tidal wave, rushing shrieks, and soaring playing that makes it feel like your brain is taking a journey beyond. A tornadic pace does ample damage, the energy gusts, and the track comes to an infectious conclusion. “Sonne der Nacht” explodes with life, starting with vocal sampling mesmerizing, and the punishment is off to the races. Harsh wails and clean singing merge as a riff cloud explodes, and everything races so fast, it feels like you’ll get lost in the dust. Spacious wonder and buzzing riffs combine while the vocals dig their way into your psyche.
“Das Dunkel der Welt” begins fairly inauspiciously with hand drumming and the sense we might feel some calm, but it’s a misdirection. Instead, another relentless assault mounts as riffs speed dangerously, increasing the savagery of the storm, and then acoustics wash in, combining with the heavy heat to leave you gasping and wilted. “Strepitus Mundi” gets off to a menacing start as the shrieks lace and the whirlwind pace captures you and sweeps you up with the storm. Things melt into a strange aura before the playing gets burlier, and the melodies crash the gates. Riffs cascade as brainwaves are stimulated, the end ripping out in a gasp. “Mitgift” closes the album knees deep in dark matter, the riffs sparking rage that teams up with the scathing shrieks. The tempo is tremendous, something that can envelope you whole, everything feeling like it’s spinning out of control. A brief chill freezes your cells, the shrieks crash land, and the final moments lead to a numbing that buries you in the clouds.
Aara’s musical retelling of Memloth the Wanderer certainly feels connected to part one of this trilogy, but “Triade II: Hemera” also is its own beast not only from the section of the story it revisits but from the new sonic wrinkles it delivers. This is a really exciting record, which is an understatement since Aara exist on a plane where blood rushes with explosive poise. This is a band growing before our eyes and ears, and their exhilarating blend of black metal easily can capture you and take you away to a time and place you’ve never witnessed before.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100051054499947
To buy the album (North America), go here: https://debemurmorti.aisamerch.com/
Or here (Europe): https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/12-eshop
For more on the label, go here: https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/