Album Title: The Ailing Façade
Label: Profound Lore Records
Date of Release: 18 March 2022
Seriously, what is it with heavy metal bands, generally at the more extreme ends of the genre, and names beginning with ‘Ae’? There are just so many, that I begin to wonder whether there’s an underground challenge going on to see how many can be created before the well runs dry. And here’s yet another example, from newcomers, Aeviterne.
‘The Ailing Façade’ is the debut full-length release from the New York-based quartet, formed back in 2015 by vocalist/guitarist Garett Bussanick. Over the intervening period, Aeviterne has swelled to a four-piece thanks to the introduction of guitarist Samuel Smith, bassist Eric Rizk, and drummer Ian Jacyszyn. According to the press material, the band was created by Bussanick as a way of exploring musical ideas that sought to fuse death metal with other subgenres, primarily industrial, but also post-punk too. Aeviterne released an EP in 2018, ‘Sireless’ but at a smidge over 50 minutes, ‘The Ailing Façade’ is the first opportunity for the band to fully open the taps and unleash their music, loosely described as experimental death metal, upon the world.
Normally, I’d not even entertain pulling a review together for something like this because, if I’m honest, I’m no closer to liking ‘The Ailing Façade’ after half a dozen or more spins than I was on the first run through. This really isn’t my ‘thing’ to be honest. However, I’m reviewing it for a couple of important reasons. Firstly, I want to try to provide a little bit of exposure to as many bands as I can. And, secondly, whilst I don’t really like the music as something to sit down and listen to for full-on enjoyment, I recognise that Aeviterne have created something that might appeal to a significant number of people, and I appreciate that the music is well crafted and well presented.
The whole idea of the music here is, I think, to make the listener feel uncomfortable. And that’s why we are faced with eight tracks that feature a truckload of unsettling sounds, deliberately dark and bleak atmospheres, and dissonance aplenty, all topped off by Bussanick’s rasping, low growls. There are hints of more conventional melody to be heard deep in the bowels of the odd track or two, with some of these becoming more prevalent as I listen. ‘The Reeking Suns’ does, for example, offer some brief respite from the tumult, enough to draw my attention back to the music once again, just as I find my tolerance levels waning slightly in the face of the decidedly disquieting onslaught. There are fleeting moments within the instrumental title track as well, if I’m being completely honest.
But what makes the experience all the more difficult for me is that there’s clearly an agenda from Aeviterne to prey upon human anxieties and fears. As someone who suffers with anxiety issues at the best of times, this music is a real test, beyond that perhaps, of others with a less fragile disposition. Take ‘The Gaunt Sky’ as a prime example. There are some prominent guitar sounds that pierce the main skeleton of the composition, but they do so in a way that makes me flinch and puts me decidedly on edge. If, as I suspect, this is deliberate, then massive kudos has to go to the band for pulling this off, because it’s genuinely unnerving.
What also deserves kudos, is the musicianship on offer here. Forget the compositions themselves for a moment and just listen to the various instruments; they may come together to create an aural nightmare, but the skill on display to create this is impressive. If I had to pick out one individual though, it’d be that of drummer Ian Jacyszyn, because his performance is incredible, leading the attack with power and deft precision throughout.
To top it all off, I’d have to say that I don’t think I have heard another band that sounds quite like Aeviterne either. It’s not even worth trying to namecheck other bands because nothing really comes very close; Aeviterne exist within their own self-defined parameters and in so doing, create their own little corner of hell.
As always, I’m listening to the music as I write, intermittently stopping to bite my nails, or stare wide-eyed into space. Those that are longer-term readers of my reviews will be aware that this is a slightly shorter review than normal. This is entirely deliberate. As much as I have listened, and I have appreciated the efforts of Aeviterne, I need to move on to something different, something less challenging to my ears and my mind. If, however, you relish this kind of deliberate cacophony, or are searching for something a little different, you really should check out ‘The Ailing Façade’ by Aeviterne because I really can’t believe that you’ll find yourself being disappointed. Just because I don’t like it that much, I do recognise talent, and these guys have it.
The Score of Much Metal: 85%
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