Aara – Triade II: Hemera – Album Review

Artist: Aara

Album Title: Triade II: Hemera

Label: Debemur Morti Productions

Date of Release: 13 May 2022

There’s prolific, and then there’s Aara. Formed in 2018, Swiss atmospheric black metal band Aara have released not one, not two, or even three albums in their short career. No, ‘Triade II: Hemera’ is actually their fourth full-length release in less than four years. Add an EP into the mix too, and the mind just boggles as to where the band find the time, the energy, and the inspiration to record so much music.

A trio, Aara are comprised of multi-instrumentalist Berg (which is German for ‘Mountain’) who handles the bass, guitar, and samples, vocalist Fluss (German for ‘River’), and drummer J. Deliberately enigmatic, little else is known about the musicians, Berg and Fluss in particular, except that they are seemingly inspired heavily by literature. ‘Triade II: Hemera’ is the second part in what the band term as the ‘Melmoth’ trilogy, inspired by the Charles Robert Maturin Gothic novel of 1820 entitled ‘Melmoth The Wanderer’. I’ve never heard of it if I’m honest, but that doesn’t hamper things particularly because, like much extreme metal, the vocals are indecipherable. In the case of Fluss, his shrieks and screams are incredibly high-pitched and often barely audible above the aggressive cacophony that runs alongside.

And when I refer to the ‘aggressive cacophony’, I really mean it, because from start to finish, ‘Triade II: Hemera’ is a truly vicious beast, with a real sense of nastiness and intense claustrophobia. Even the relatively quiet intro to the first track, ‘Phantasmagorie’ has a deeply ominous feel to it, as if we’re being subjected to the sounds of a foreboding darkness, from which there is no escape. From there, icy fast-picked guitar notes and acoustic picking are accompanied by despairing wails, the rattling of chains, and grotesque atmosphere, before the full force of the song comes in to smack us over the head with no mercy. But interestingly, the full force of the black metal assault is laced with melody. Blastbeats, savage screams, and charging, relentless riffing are somehow given a softer edge by the lead guitar lines that offer genuine melody.

That said, I like the way that the melody is occasionally twisted to become less welcoming and serene; it’s like Aara want to lull us into a false sense of security, before reminding us that they are ultimately an evil, sadistic entity that are just as happy causing us pain and anguish as they are entertaining us. Nevertheless, the more I listen, the more catchy the music becomes, especially when the religious-sounding choir enters in what is an intriguing, but thoroughly engrossing dichotomy – it genuinely works.

Naturally, this being black metal, a word is required at this juncture on the production. It isn’t the ‘we recorded this in a shoe box on a four-track’, but it is reasonably lo-fi, meaning that more than anything, it’s not easy or comfortable to listen to. The music has an energy which definitely comes from the organic, ‘live’ feel to the sound. But not all of the instrumentation is afforded the greatest clarity, with the bass often just a passing hum in the background, or non-existent altogether. The drumming is utterly relentless, a barrage of blasts and fast fills, but I wish the sound was a little more robust to give it an even greater potency. At the end of the day, though, this is nasty, spiteful black metal regardless of the melodic edge, so perhaps the chosen production is completely the right decision for the Swiss trio. And who am I to argue?

Instead, I will focus on the music and another of the six tracks to really catch my attention is ‘Sonne Der Nacht’. Once again, the bulk of the song isa relentless and punishing slice of fast, aggressive black metal, but it is laced with interesting ingredients. First up is the use of traditional Indian vocals, that adds a different flavour to the music. The female voice creates a sense of mystique within the song, that’s then built upon by sections of slower, more melodic fare that allow a bit more of the melody to seep through, definitely something that works well given the overall swift, uncompromising nature of the vast majority of the song. To cap it all off, there are a couple of moments when the song indulges in truly anthemic melody led by the lead guitars of Berg, the kind to really get me grinning evilly.

‘Das Dunkel Der Welt’ is another thunderous affair, but again, within the cacophony, there’s plenty of pretty majestic melody actually, the kind that is incredibly insidious; it isn’t until you’ve listened a few times that you fully realise just how memorable the song is, because most of your attention is drawn to the more abrasive and unforgiving aspects of the composition. In fact, the same could be said of other tracks too, including the massive ‘Strepitus Mundi’, an eight-minute affair that’s cold and claustrophobic in its almost unhinged violence, yet subtly charming thanks to the undercurrent of melody, albeit occasionally veering towards the discordant and uncomfortable just to ensure that the listener doesn’t get too comfortable.

Having heard nothing of Aara in the past, I came into this review with no real expectations of any kind. In a way, this makes it all the more pleasing to be able to say that ‘Triade II: Hemera’ is a real diamond in the rough. The production and the venomous violence is the rough, whilst the clever use of melody and the injection of elements like the Indian vocals, the choir, and even the Jewish shofar horn are the gems to be discovered if you are prepared to take a proper, detailed listen to this album. You’ve got to like black metal to enjoy Aara’s music, but if you do, then ‘Triade II: Hemera’ comes with a strong recommendation. And, on current form, we can probably look forward to ‘Triade III’ within a few short months too!

The Score of Much Metal: 88%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Pure Reason Revolution – Above Cirrus

Demonical – Mass Destroyer

I Am The Night – While The Gods Are Sleeping

Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle

Delvoid – Swarmlife

LionSoul – A Pledge To Darkness

Watain – The Agony And Ecstasy Of Watain

Dischordia – Triptych

Dragonbreed – Necrohedron

Audrey Horne – Devil’s Bell

Vanum – Legend

Stone Broken – Revelation

Radiant – Written By Life

Skull Fist – Paid In Full

Hurakan – Via Aeturna

Incandescence – Le Coeur De L’Homme

Imminent Sonic Destruction – The Sun Will Always Set

Monuments – In Stasis

Soledad – XIII

Viande – L’abime dévore les âmes

Credic – Vermillion Oceans

Postcards From New Zealand – Burn, Witch, Burn

Darkher – The Buried Storm

Treat – The Endgame

Bjørn Riis – Everything To Everyone

Destruction – Diabolical

Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama

Angel Nation – Antares

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s