Æra - The Craving Within
Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum
Pagan Black Metal
6 songs (43' 48")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Andy

An international collaboration with bandmembers on three continents, Æra serves up a cold blast of Norwegian-style black metal on The Craving Within that pays homage to their influences without going much beyond the end of the trail they blazed. That said, they do it very well; they are excellent musicians and can capture the bleak atmosphere they are looking for from time to time.

Keyboards provide a high atmospheric counterpoint to the guitar work, which is solely performed by Ulf Kveldulfsson with all the songwriting; vocals are the responsibility of the rest of the band. The tracks are a mix of Viking/pagan styles and -- at least on Rite of Odin -- quite a bit of Emperor worship. Where the music suffers is in the production, which, although a modern mix that preserves the guitars, boils the midrange down to an undifferentiated mess. It has to be said, too, that the Kveldulfsson's riffs have been done before -- a lot. Where he starts to part ways with 90s-era black metal is in his greater use of melody. Mixed in with these are some group Viking chants.

Sometimes this flows together, sometimes not. This is a fairly new band, and Æra seems to be still enamored with their 90s-style black metal heroes and trying out the same things they did. Æra has some of the moves down, but The Craving Within comes off as a faltering first step for them, rather than a confident leap.

Killing Songs :
Rite of Odin
Andy quoted 74 / 100
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