Aenaon - Hypnosophy (2016, Code666 Records)
When I first read the description of Aenaon’s music as Progressive Black Metal I was expecting another Post Black Metal platter that 2016 has been dumping all over the music reviewers. I could not be more wrong. As this Greek band was completely new to me it was such a pleasant surprise to discover an album that reminded me of the Avant-garde Metal of Ved Buens Ende, Arcturus, and the 2015 LMDM Record of the Year™ A Umbra Omega from Dodheimsgard. For once, you have the promess of a Progressive record that is really progressive.
With the Black Metal edge of earlier Vintersorg in their use of screamed and clean vocals, Aenaon are playing the Progressive card without retain and this is this quality of Hypnosophy that makes it such a stand out. The orchestrations are grandiose and the mix is pretty decent with saxophones here and there and a strong presence of the bass guitar.
Aenaon keeps great distance from the keyboards and hook in songs. Sure, it has its fun moments and isn’t as grim and bleak as the usual strained seriousness of most Black Metal. Despite, some long songs like the engaging ‘’Phronesis – Psychomagic’’ of over fifteen minutes and three other songs at more than seven minutes it doesn’t feel to long or unedited. My main critic would be the drumming that I found precise and always solid but it doesn’t shine as much as I would expect from a Progressive Metal album would. Maybe it’s the mix that makes it sound a bit distant or my expectations but it is my only problem with this album.
It’s always refreshing to hear a record that comes in a genre that’s not been visited another ‘enth time this year. Even with my huge attraction for Black Metal, even I get a bit overwhelmed and bored by the increasing number of Black Metal bands that are boring and even worst; mediocre. When I get around a record that speaks to me like Hypnosophy I cannot be anything else but excited. It seems like the old saying was right after all; if Black Metal comes from Greece give it a listen because it might be worth your time. In this case, it is worth it.