Album Review: Anachronaeon – The Ethereal Throne
Band: Anachronaeon (Sweden)
Album: The Ethereal Throne (2012)
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
If you’ve been with us for a long time, you may remember that last May we had an out-of-the-ordinary post in which we presented just one thing: an album cover. It was the cover for an album then-to-be-titled The Ethereal Throne, in production by a Swedish band we’ve been following around for a while like a small dog sniffing a big dog’s arse. The band’s formed by two dudes, Patrik Carlsson and Andreas Åkerlind and though the album in question, their fourth since they started out in 2003, was supposed to be released still in 2011, they did launch it until January of this year.
I do not mind, for the simple reason that I know Patrik a little from over the internetz and I know these guys are a bunch of perfectionists. I’ve noticed it from their previous material as well. So a delay of a few months is probably fully attributable to this and must have had a beneficial effect on the record’s quality. I mean, it shows: this album is pure quality in a thick volumeous sauce of awesome with pinches of hot shit and drops of delicious old-school punch in the teeth. I mean: it’s good!
Anachronaeon’s produce in its essence is Melodic Death Metal, but it that makes you think we’re dealing with some pussy music full of cheesy leads and beautiful melodies, you’re wrong. The Ethereal Throne is raw. Raw as the piece of beef I ate last night. That’s raw in the totally Old-school Death Metal sort of manner. Yet still this music is catchy as gonorrhea from the chick they call the school matrass. It’s infectious, but no less a pleasant experience.
Already back in December of 2010 did we write about the album’s opening track, Mary, a wonderful introduction into the album’s concept. Quoting Patrik as we did back then, the album is “about a serial killer, committing murder in the name of God”. He also said ”I like to think in the grey area. Not everything is black and white… but of course it’s an anti-religious concept taken to the max.” The song Mary kicks off with slowly mesmerizing clean guitars supporting our killer’s explanation of himself, as he explains that he has ”decided to write things down so that the world can take part of my work”. This then is what forms the rest of the nine-song album.
Our killer is a loyal, dutiful but also troubled man. But he takes responsibility for his actions and does not hide behind shrouded truths or lies, and so in The Whereabouts of my Father he tells about the murder of his father, in response to speculation in the press on his work and personality. This dutiful, honest and troubled nature somehow is brilliantly depicted by the music. There is a certain cleanness to the tunes, in that the layering is sharp. Whereas individual instrumental lines may be challenging and complex, there is always a clear distinction between the layers that are put on top of one another. A metaphor for the killer’s straightforwardness and honesty, at least in my mind; he portrays things as they are and does not create the illusion of things that aren’t there by artfully combining elements.
But, as said, within instrumental tracks there are complexities aplenty, from complex guitar solos and tacky lead sections to rumbling drum patterns that spell trouble, pain and suffering. This is where the man’s conscience plays its part and the resulting ambiance is one of a constant, inevitable and willfully chosen guilt and sadness.
From time to time a song will start with a section of clean guitar work, over which the killer will tell his story, or rather introduce the story the rest of the lyrics is going to tell. The Ethereal Throne tells the story of the killer from beginning to end. Mary and The Essence of my Becoming tell of how he came to be what he is. Track five, Defying my Master, and Seeds of Darkness Sprouting in Light, strangely enough a more ‘open’, easy-going song, tell how he is turning. Eventually something goes wrong (The Inevitable Day) and eventually the killer ends up in prison, contemplating his deeds and sins (A White Dove Flew over the Prison Walls). That last song is one of peace, in which the man settles down and looks back, glad he found peace, but sad for what he has had to do. The song is fully instrumental and so it leaves room for interpretations, but this is what I like to make of it.
The Ethereal Throne is not just conceptually strong though. The music matches the sentiment portrayed in the story and lyrics, but on a whole different is also incredibly pleasant to listen to. Andreas Åkerlind is a drummer of incredible speed. His blast beats and bass drum thunder are awe-inspiringly fast, yet have a certain (deliberate) sloppiness to them that gives them so much more character and makes them so much more rumbling.
Patrik’s guitars are capable of displaying great ranges of emotional states, using fierce riffage, tremolo picking, acoustic (sounding) cleans and both sharp edgy leads and leads that possess a certain warmth. His teeth-spitting growls are of a rare hoarseness, as if he’s been addicted to Whisky since it sprayed from his mom’s tit. It’s hard to describe why, but if gives the lyrics a certain authority and makes the killer’s tale all the more convincing.
The Ethereal Throne, though a conceptual album that should be listened to in full, at once, can very well be listened to casually. But that would honestly be a pity and doing so would make you miss out on so much intellectual and original goodness. I’d therefore recommend that you get this record only when you have the capacity and time to actually listen to your music, to take it apart in y our mind and understand how it’s put together. The Ethereal Throne will give you a run for your money, but eventually reward you richly!
My Grade: 9/10
Buy this when:
- you’re a sucker for conceptual records
- you can give this the attention it deserves (and that’s a lot!)
- you like a melodic piece of Metal, but it doesn’t have to be all clean like a baby’s freshly washed bottom