Aeternitas – Haunted Minds
Wormholedeath Records/The Orchard/Aural Music
Release Date: 20/11/2020
Running Time: 48.08
Review by Dark Juan
Cordial greetings, dear friends and fellow followers of the Left-Hand Path! It is I, Dark Juan, and I trust I find you full of that Friday feeling and you are rapidly filling yourselves with alcohol and other party treats and that you are indulging in a lengthy and debauched weekend planned with your significant others. As long as there is love in the world then I am content. That, and worship of our Lord and Master of mankind, Shaitan. May the Horned One drink in your debauches like the finest wines and reap a fearful tally of souls from children who can’t spell Santa correctly… The little bastards will wish they had not asked for puppies for Christmas when the hellhounds are delivered, and they find the bloody, ravaged and half-eaten corpses of their parents being tossed around like ragdolls by Fido. Have you noticed that I am not amused by the imminent festivities yet? Bah, and indeed humbug…
This evening, I have gone down a different musical path than I normally do, and I will make a valiant and probably unsuccessful attempt to be factual about German gothic symphonic metal band Aeternitas and their latest offering, entitled “Haunted Minds”. Now, if you know me and considering the amount of crap I write for Ever-Metal, you really should by now, and you will no doubt be aware that I am a sad old goff and love anything pompous and overblown. Now, considering that, you would think that I would be a rabid fan of anything that involves metal and fucking orchestras, would you not? Well, normally you’d be correct, but gothic symphonic metal has to be done RIGHT, otherwise it just sounds like a colossal shitshow that some fucker has thrown some violins at.
It appears Aeternitas have listened to a metric fuckton of “Once” era Nightwish and taken ‘Dark Chest Of Wonders’ as a starting point and have stretched that particular sound as far as they can physically take it without descending into some keyboard led white noise explosion. However, Aeternitas are by no means as talented as that merry bunch of Finnish (and Dutch) orchestra enthusiasts, and it shows. Both the male and female vocalists are strictly average, bordering on poor in Aeternitas, and for this style of music to work you have to be an exceptional vocal talent, able to soar above the music. Neither Julia Marou or Alex Hunzinger are exceptional, and Alex in particular is not acceptable, as he doesn’t have an interesting voice, and nor can he growl properly, so you end up with some kind of bizarre halfway house vocal which is barely tolerable. He is a much better conductor of an orchestra, though. The symphonic parts of the record are fucking brilliant and the choir excellent and his arrangements good. The songs, however, are derivative and uninteresting. Julia’s voice is too low in the mix of the record and frequently sounds a half-tone flat while singing, and she also has a weak vibrato and range. For this style of metal to work, you need a coruscating skyrocket of a voice and Julia’s alto just doesn’t cut it.
The songs on the album are also uninspiring. Every song on the record sounds like a variation on ‘Dark Chest Of Wonders’ apart from album closer ‘My Haunted Mind’ which is an execrable piano ballad which ends the whole distinctly average shebang on the dampest of damp squibs. I fucking hate ballads and this one’s a stinker, ladies, gentlemen and people of other genders, being mournful without being interesting and overlong by about a minute, thereby prolonging the agony longer than you need it to be. Ironically, though, it shows exactly what Julia is capable of, switching from alto to contralto in parts and showing some interesting variation in her vocal style.
There’s so much I didn’t enjoy on this record. The songs all sound the same, Alex’s vocal is poor, the mix is fucking shocking and produces an experience not unlike listening to Nightwish whilst immersing your head in a bath of scalding hot treacle, none of the instruments are sharply produced and the bass overpowers everything. The drums are flat and lifeless, you can barely hear the guitar work and the keyboards disappear in and out of the overall sound. The vocals also sound muffled, as if they were recorded by a microphone located in a different room to the singer. It’s all so…mechanical. There is no passion, no soul.
Best tune on here? ‘Castles In The Air’ by a country fucking mile. Starts with bombastic pomposity and builds to a pretty groovy chorus that gets you singing along handily and stands head and shoulders above the rest of the album.
Disappointed doesn’t even cover the emotion I am feeling right now. Average. Painfully average.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Das Patentierte Dunkle Juan Blood Splat Bewertungssystem) awards Aeternitas 5/10 for an uninspired Nightwish-lite album. Meh. It got 5/10 because of the strength of the classical arrangements and because of the fucking slamming chorus on ‘Castles In The Air’.
02. Fountain Of Youth
03. The Unforgivable Sin
04. The Birthmark
05. Castles In The Air
06. Fallen Innocence
07. The Ring
08. Another Day
09. The Beautiful
10. The Final Path
11. My Haunted Mind
Julia Marou – Vocals
Alex Hunzinger – Guitar, vocals
Anja Hunzinger – Keyboards
Daniel T. Lentz – Guitar
Rick Corbett – Bass (This man does not sound German!)
Frank Molk – Drums (There is an umlaut over the O but I am too disappointed to sort it out.)
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