Aenaon - Hypnosophy,
I remember reviewing the album released by Aenaon prior to this one, ‘Extance’, and saying that the Greek Black Metallers had a lot going for them as they refused to conform to what was expected, and this 2016 release has continued that progression. There has been a slight line-up change, and far less use of guests than before, but while some of it looks normal and as expected, there are some subtle differences. So, we have Astrous (vocals), Achilleas C. (guitars, bass, keyboards) and Anax (guitars), which are all straightforward. But, Nycriz is listed as providing drums, percussion, saz, bouzouki, sitar and oud – certainly not one would expect from a drummer, and some of these would never be expected on a black metal album. The newest member is Orestis, who of course provides saxophone. Saxophone? On a black metal album? The only guest is Giorgos Papagiannakis who provides some clean vocals against the gruff.
On hearing this album, one wonders why not more bands are using a sax in a metal setting, as it works incredibly well, providing a different edge while the guitars are riffing away which feels much more integral to the overall sound than keyboard sometimes do in the same setting. This isn’t the only difference within the album as the guys refuse to sit within any particular form, so although sometimes they are set squarely with the black metal genre there are other times when it is just an influence, and others where they drop it altogether where they move more into the mainstream. This is an even more balanced, exciting and adventurous album than ‘Extance’, and is one that I highly recommend, even if this form of metal isn’t normally to your liking.