The long wait is over as Ethereal finally release debut album.

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Symphonic Black Metal, when done correctly, is a powerful and evocative musical landscape. Bands like Dimmu Borgir have excelled in creating a beauty in the darkness whilst simultaneously assaulting the senses with the kind of underground brutality that has elevated the Black Metal genre to new levels whilst keeping the essence of what bands like Mayhem, Darkthrone etc forged in the first instance.

Whilst many may look towards Scandinavia for their corpse paint fix the UK has been steadily increasing in number and quality in the amount of bands that are keeping the genre alive and growing it past it origins. There are too many now to list here but suffice to say that it is a “scene” growing with every passing season.

As for Liverpool’s uncompromising Ethereal nationwide recognition is seemingly just around the corner as they unleash their debut album on the waiting souls ready to be damned.

The opening strains of “Nomicon” visualizes a few thousand hardy souls trekking across the wastelands before being thrown straight into a battle, seemingly without warning. The pace is intense and, in the best traditions, darker than a funeral held at midnight with his Satanic Majesty providing the music.

The changes of rhythm are particularly impressive given that the pace hardly relents throughout the course of the eight tracks on offer. The ferocity is tempered by the cinematically symphonic elements which lift the music from the depths of its creation to the soaring heights of it’s destiny.

“Unholy Ungodly” is a perfect example of when the creative powers crash together and the debris is scattered, spinning progressively around the vaccum of its own technicality.

For traditionalists the blastbeats, driving riffs and demonic screams are all present, but the level has just been taken up a notch. Given the band’s name could refer to many different things it seems most likely that the band relate to the lower atmosphere, namely the underworld, and the darkness that lies therein.

Over ten years of growth, refinement and evolution has led to this their debut album. Although it may seem a long time before releasing your first album it does appear to be time very well spent if Opus Aethereum is anything to go by.

The sound is crystal clear and sonically earblasting, so props must go to the production and mixers, Slaweck and Wotjek Wieslawscy from Poland who are no stranger to getting the most out of talented bands, as Behemoth and Vader will attest.

Candlelight Records know a great band when the sign one. This band has the potential to be up there with the very best of their imperious roster that includes Corrosion of Conformity, Emperor, Mael Mordha, Nine Covens, Orange Goblin and Winterfylleth to name only a handful.

Black Metal needs bands like this if it is going to continue to be a force in the heavier and darker end of the metal spectrum and it is highly unlikely that you will hear anything better than this in extreme music in the next year.

Ethereal have laid down a marker in the quicksand and before it disappears, if justice prevails, there will be hundreds of bands ready to pick it up and use it as their torch to find the way………….…………for the darkness has a new leading light.

Donnie’s Rating: 10/10

Tracklisting

1.Nomicon
2.Overwrite the Archetype
3.Unholy Ungodly
4.Psalm of the Deceiver
5.Devouring the Forsaken
6.Contorted Utopia
7.Aethereum
8.Waking Death

The Band

Naut: Vocals
Iyaan: Rhythm Guitars
M-Inanz: Lead Guitars
Volf: Bass
Mordrath: Drums