‘Twas not so long ago on these very (digital) pages I was ripping into Paragon Impure for taking an idea that’d already been thrashed to death (Marquis de Sade) and beating it further still. Is it therefore hypocritical to sing the praises of a band who likewise exploit an oft trodden theme, in this case, Lovecraftian literature? No, it isn’t, so shut up.
There is an atmosphere of expectation surrounding the third album from these Cthulu-bothering Germans. We’re obviously not talking Metallica levels of hype, but a lot of excitement is bubbling due to the potential of this relatively fresh band. Their debut album turned many a head in 2013, whilst sophomore release “Gateway To The Antisphere” deservedly rounded out several end-of-year lists in 2015.
“The Scythe Of Cosmic Chaos” continues the unique brand of foreboding established on both previous efforts, whilst adding a few borrowed spices into the mix. One can’t help but conjure visions of Nile when hearing the Phrygian dominant scales (both played and sung) of “Yuggothian Spell”, whilst on songs such as “Veneration Of The Luna Orb” and “Lungs Into Gills”, Sulphur Aeon dip their toes into the melo-death waters favoured by Kalmah and their ilk.
The listener is not permitted to get comfortable on this ride, but nor are they bounced around in a maelstrom of untethered ideas. Sulphur Aeon maintain their previously established high quality threshold throughout proceedings, rubber-stamping their authenticity with authority by bleeding atmospheric dread and urgency upon everything they produce. “Sinister Sea Sabbath” and album closer “Thou Shalt Not Speak His Name” in particular stand out after several listens; intelligent changes in tempo complementing the solid riffs and melodies, with the sinister doomy undercurrent ever-present.
Whilst this album isn’t quite on par with “Gateway…” for me, it’s still a damn impressive display of musicianship, and notably more accessible than its predecessor. I truly believe that we are witnessing the fledgling steps of a future trans-genre underground giant in the mold of Behemoth, and I wish Sulphur Aeon all the success that they deserve.