I’d say the most accurate way to describe Aeternam would be ‘experimental symphonic folk melodeath.’ Rolls right off the tongue right? Well thankfully, Moongod flows much, much better than that unwieldy nomer. The band boasts masterful eastern string/percussion arrangements, ambient clean vocals, and outstanding melodic riffage worthy of comparison to popular thematic metallers like Nile, Ensiferum, Vintersorg, Wintersun, or even The HAARP Machine. If that in itself isn’t enough to get you hooked, just take a quick listen. Within minutes, you’re sure to be enthralled by the band’s multifaceted attack: it makes sure to bring the heavy, the melodic, the epic, the folky mystique, and whatever else you might need on a journey through an Arabian desert.
The record kicks right off with blaring trumpets and colossal percussion, before it quickly shifts into some aggressive, invigorating melodic riffage that transitions through passages of soaring clean vocals (This guy’s got serious talent. His style perfectly matches the sound for which they’re going), brutal death growls, and heavy guitar rhythms that mesh together to make the opening track (also the title track) a real killer. The battle anthem that is “Invading Jersualem” comes next, and then “Cosmogony,” my favorite. It starts off with a riff that may as well just have been right from a straight-up hardcore or thrash album, then the symphonics kick in and it becomes a seriously ass-tearing Aeternam song. They then make an interesting choice of juxtaposing a nearly completely Eastern folk song, “Iram of the Pillars,” right after “Cosmogony,” one of the heaviest songs on the record. But it’s clearly an intelligent choice, as “Iram” serves as a sort of experimental interlude before the album kicks right back into the heavy with “Rise of Arabia.”
As Moongod continues, the listener will find more creative, unorthodox riffs inspired by a number of different genres, all supporting an absolutely exceptional vocal performance. The drumming is definitely above par for melodeath, as well, with very notable attention to detail every step of the way. By the time the album ends, you’re gonna be left wondering exactly how this wasn’t a highly-touted, major label release, at least partially due to the pristine production quality that’s very difficult to find among smaller bands.