Vera : Equal parts desolation, misery and fury. That’s what Russian band Aethyr offers us in a blend of doom, sludge, ambient and fury that has the nearest approach to black metal. The guys, based in Moscow, present themselves as Mr. D, Mr. W, Mr. S and Mr. Y. Might be to avoid the ethnic complexity of their names, but of course also to emphasize the occult, menacing aureole around the band. In 2010 they released the debut album ‘Messio’, furthermore a couple of EPs and split CDS were released, which is usual in occult doom circles.
The music of Aethyr appears to be more melodious and accessible than we initially expected and that is a pro. Indeed, ‘Nihil Grail’ happens to be slow doom metal, relished with low-pitched growls and a screaming variant, but the whole thing is interwoven with loads of melodic soloing of Mr. D. In despite of the ultimate slowness, they create a kind of empyrean feel. ‘Sanctus Satanicus’ is made up of a wall of guitars with fervent blackened yet melodic leads. In addition to the typical slow doom riffs, ‘ATU’ excels in drawling echoing notes that pass into a proper solo and one can hear a frivolous acceleration. There is not that much vocal appearance in this ten minutes long track; it seems to be the reflection of a (well done) improvisation. The video ‘Cvlt’ features distorted melodies, screaming chants and lively solos. The band creates a menacing atmosphere in ‘The Gnostic Mass’. This is what they mean by ambient, so it seems: hazy, dark sounds as if you hide for the light in a submarine. A wide range of psychedelic sounds with a spatial flavour opens the title track, while the mainly instrumental song only adds any scream-like vocals after seven minutes. Yet it does not get too heavy or inaccessible, although we cannot deny any flirts with monotonous patterns in the occluding ‘Templum’. How can we label this? More accessible than Electric Wizard (who isn’t?), sometimes verging to YOB, but surely not traditional doom metal. The production of Evgeny Krutelev at the Dead Whiskey Studios deserves a compliment and does justice to the contrast between unwieldy heaviness and transparent sounds of the leads. Doom fans ought to check this out!