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7.5/10 Mladen

AETHERIUS OBSCURITAS - Viziok - CD - Paragon Records - 2007

review by: Mladen Škot

You don't realize it's there because you don't expect it. We're talking about something like happiness — in black metal. Viziok, the fourth Aetherius Obscuritas album, is a strange one. Get it, listen to it a number of times and it all seems nearly there. But there's something weird about it, and you can't tell what it is until you've visited their website. In the words of the only non-session member, Akhorrl, "...I need an extra to feel well and this is Aetherius Obscuritas" Hah! "Feel well"? That must be it!

In theory, there shouldn't be any of this. If Akhorrl's influences are really Burzum, Ancient and Ragnarok, why doesn't Viziok sound at least close to them? Okay, the screams, both in Akhorrl's native Hungarian and English, are awesome. The sound, although slightly underproduced, leaves nothing to complain about. There's two straightforward sounding guitars, quite audible bass and loud, natural drums. Although Hungarian, Aetherius Obscuritas is easiest to compare to the default Swedish black metal bands (Dark Funeral, Marduk or Setherial) — the riffs always have something to say, from the tremolo picked semi-melodies to the simple, effective chord sequences. The composition is standard, managing to hold the attention through quite discernible and diverse songs. But then... happiness?

If you're trying to listen to Viziok as a "true" black metal release, it hardly makes sense. Even the riffs of the first track are strange — black metal chords ended by a staccato lick just don't feel right. Yet, as you progress through Viziok, all the time having joyfulness in mind, it reveals itself. The two bass drum beats actually sound galloping, the chord sequences could have just as well been on a folk album, and even an attempt at a slow, brooding track sounds more like a waltz than what it was probably intended to be. The technical riffs of the 11th track are so playful that they wouldn't be out of place on a Children of Bodom album.

And what would be the point? Isn't black metal supposed to be hateful, depressed, threatening or just simply unpleasant? In the case of Aetherius Obscuritas, it isn't. Depending on your willingness to try out something new, Viziok can be either a revelation or a subject of contempt. It's a quality release, no doubt... but... happy-sounding "true" blastbeats? Galloping Marduk? Feels awkward, but what, for example, a band like Vreid have merely tried, Aetherius Obscuritas have done the right way. Or it would be the wrong way then? Or... damn. You've read the review, you decide. (7.5/10)


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