Archive for the ‘Aythyr’ Category

Aythyr — Through the Ages

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

It has seemed an age since I first caught whispers of the Perth-based studio project Aythyr. Given the busy schedules of the members involved, it is unsurprising that a first release has taken such time to find its way out there. There’s more to it than that, though. The patience and effort required to achieve the polished and atmospheric compositions Aythyr set out to create were substantial. The results on the band’s debut, Through the Ages, must be pleasing to them, given such vast time and effort, and resisting the temptation to pull the trigger before the time was right.

The band is the conceptual progeny of Dave Sandstrom, whom after a vast stint of playing bass for Pathogen, Vesper’s Descent, and Malignant Monster, returns to working with guitar. The sonic invocations of Celtic mythology and the occult are fleshed out by vocalist Drew Griffiths, whose work with experimental industrial solo project Onomy has been a brilliant and underrated local treat. The drumming is taken care of by Ben Stanley, currently in Perth metal band Sanzu after a previous stint in Malignant Monster.

Sandstrom’s love of early 90s Swedish death metal with melodic and prog influences is clearly celebrated on Through the Ages, as well as his expressed sense that overly technical work has left present-day death metal well and truly muddled and overwhelmed. The songs are distilled and precise in their direction without becoming simplistic. Nor is there the cut/collage effect that is often discussed about thrash and death metal. The atmosphere flows, rather than feeling constructed stone by stone.

The songs are brimming with superb guitar melodies, and understated synths that support rather than overwhelm the atmospheric approach to progressive death metal. Generally, Griffiths keeps the growls to a matter of effective punctuation, maintaining the ethereal tone through his strength with clean vocals that are particularly good in tracks such as ‘The Wheel Turns’ and ‘Moonlit Moor’. Blasts of speed are eschewed, with the mid-tempo gallop of early In Flames-esque ‘Initiation’ as frenetic as things get. The languid drift of Opeth’s and, at times, Arcturus’ first albums predominates to maintain the spiritual feel of the record, paying tribute to the elemental druidic invocations borne out of the cairns within foggy moors and forests.

Through the Ages is now available on CD and in digital format directly from the band’s website or through various music outlets on the web.