Silence is no longer an option for Sulphur Aeon.
Five years after their highly acclaimed third album, T. (guitar, ex-December Flower), M. (vocals), D. (drums, Reveal in Void, ex-December Flower), S. (bass/keyboards) and A. (guitar) finally unveil Seven Crowns and Seven Seals, their fourth album, on Ván Records.
The album opens with Sombre Tidings and its intriguing melodies in the background, complemented by a few keyboards, then murmurs before Hammer From The Howling Void chokes us with its blast and massive dissonance. The shattering arrival of saturated vocal parts only strengthen the ongoing oppression, while clean vocals offer more airy mysterious shades on which the band will play before giving way to Usurper of the Earth and Sea, which continues on this path while letting the harmonics hover above their thick basis. We have a few lulls in the raw sound, but the band always manages to revive violence by coupling it with leads, before letting The Yearning Abyss Devours Us offer a cold majestic sound where clean vocals just feel like home as on the livelier passages dedicated to screams. Distant backing vocals join the vocalist before the instrumental breaks loose, leading us into Arcane Cambrian Sorcery, a relatively darker and heavier track that develops the album’s most brutal sounds. Catchy patterns multiply to make the surge more wearisome, then the band calls on Michael Zech (Odem Arcarum, ex-Secrets of the Moon, ex-Triumph of Death) and Laurent Teubl (Chapel of Disease, ex-Infernäl Death) to give Seven Crowns and Seven Seals, the eponymous track, an even more impressive cosmic dimension. This is obvious on the central break, where multiple voices mingle in an airy chaos where the instruments join them before returning to pure violence, and above all to massive heaviness, sometimes supported by a high rhythm. The musicians continue to exploit their unhealthy influences with Beneath the Ziqqurrats, the final track, whose ominous introduction gives way to an apocalyptic yet extremely controlled sound that lets us feel their strength’s full weight, even when the rhythm seems to calm down or become almost plaintive.
In less than fifteen years, Sulphur Aeon has established itself as one of the masters of dissonant Black/Death. Seven Crowns and Seven Seals continues in this vein, blending ever more impressive elements with cosmic influences to accentuate its violence and oppression. Undoubtedly another masterpiece.