Aoratos - Gods without Name [Debemur Morti Productions - 2019]Aoratos - Gods Without Name is the latest offering from Naas Alcameth, of Akhlys and Nightbringer fame. This new project brings together Naas on vocals, guitars and synth, Nox Corvus also on guitar duties, and Menthor on the drums whilst Chthonia provides backing vocals. The idea behind the project is to take the themes and sound of Naas’ other project Akhlys and expand upon them. Probing further into the maelstrom of darkness only ever hinted at on Naas’ previous work. Aoratos modus operandi is to cross creative boundaries into the liminal sonic spaces beyond, the band’s fusion of Black Metal and Dark Ambient reaching new and forbidden realms of occulture, taking us the listener, along for the ride.
Parallax I kicks the album underway, a distorted dark ambient nightmare brought to life, the opening two minutes of the track are all about creating an atmosphere in preparation for the arrival of the guitars and drums. As an opening instrumental it sets the scene well, and hints at the music to follow. Holy Mother of Terror is up next, eclectic, progressive black metal, that rages like good black metal should but also has the lightness of touch to change things up and preserve a melodic quality even during the faster sequences. Of Harvest, Scythe and Sickle Moon is a little more off the chain, gloriously brutal at its most extreme, but it never feels as though the band are ever pushing for pure brutality, there is always a musical quality to what they do. The title track Gods Without Name is up next and the brutality continues, what one can’t help but notice is just how heavy this is. One of my main criticisms of a lot of Black Metal relates to the tinny sound, this has a massive sound that really resonates, which just gives an extra dimension to the brutality on display. Thresher keeps the full blooded aural assault going, with more of the same gloriously over the top Black Metal brutality, and I am loving it.
The Watcher on the Threshold gets the second half of the album underway in similar fashion to the way Thresher ended the first half, before holding back on the throttle, but only very slightly. Prayer of Abjection is next in line, and after several faster, heavier tracks the band decide to take a break, and elect to introduce a bit of variety, the track is a masterpiece of dark ambient that keeps hinting that it will explode into life. It adds a nice bit of variety to the album. Dread Spirits of the Place begins with some melancholy sounding synth work before erupting into monolithic funeral doom territory with some glacial riffs. Around the track’s midpoint everything fades down till there is nothing but vocals and piano before unleashing a Black Metal storm in the second half of the track. The track goes through various changes as it progresses and works to show in miniature the diverse nature of the music spread across the album’s length. Parallax II closes the album in similar fashion to the way its namesake opened the proceedings.
Gods Without Name is one of the finest Black Metal releases I have heard in some time. There is a cold, stark brutality throughout that gives me chills. The production is top notch, brutally heavy and with so many layers to it that you keep hearing new and different sounds on each listen. The performances are tight and music veers between Black Metal and Dark Ambient seamlessly. This is a remarkably accomplished record for a debut album. I know the musicians are all time served members of the Black Metal scene, however, to come up with something this good as your first foray together is a remarkable feat.Darren Charles