Aquilus - Griseus (2011)



True classical talent is shown by the band Aquilus. The Australian outfit has released their new album, entitled “Griseus.” They manage to mix a lot of classical tones to the atmospheric black metal that we are already used to. If Beethoven were alive today, this is probably the kind of music he would be making right now. The band uses many different instruments to capture their sound and even manage to add dark devilish growls occasionally. The song writing is excellent as you will see that they clearly put a lot of time and effort in composing each track. The album is eight songs long and most of them average to about 10 minutes long. Each one unique in its own way.

Slow eerie strings come creeping in to open up the album. The first track is called “Nihil” and runs for an epic 14 minutes long. After the first minute of strings go by, you’re met with acoustic guitars mixed with electric guitars and screaming growls that will send chills down your spine. Booming drums take over the background with snapping snares and high clashing cymbals. Later enters chanting vocals as the guitars become more aggressive and begin chugging away to the muddy bass lines and bombing kick drums. Short guitar solos jump in and out throughout the track so you definitely have to pay close attention. About five minutes in all of the instruments drop except for an acoustic guitar that is layered with soothing strings behind it. The gorgeous melodies draws you closer into the song as beautiful piano notes begin to chime in. Can you believe there is all of this in one song and you’ve only gotten to the halfway point. The piano riffs start to lean more towards the dark tones as more soft strings fade in slowly. At this point, the song has taken a complete change in direction as it lean more towards the sound of an atmospheric soundtrack that you would hear on a Lord Of The Rings movie. Layers and layers of orchestrated strings come together as the track builds more and more. Soon enters these huge splashing cymbals that really help caption an image of what is going on. Even distorted guitar start to fade back in slightly just underneath all of the symphonic strings. As the instruments start to fade you come across a short outro that is filled with dark acoustic guitars and evil melodic strings.

You are then introduced to a mysterious piano riff in “Loss.” Strings slowly float in the background as you are hypnotized for the first two minutes of the track. Hell raising guitar riffs come blaring in afterwards. They are joined by more chanting vocals and simple drumming. You are then hit with a huge wall of violent riffs and drum fills that will absolutely destroy you. The song structure is incredible as you will see the constant change in melody and instrument throughout his track. The middle of the song consists mainly of stunning piano riffs wrapped in warm orchestrated strings. You will fine some very impressive piano rolls in this one. Things start to get a little heavier towards the end of the song as chugging distorted guitars come blasting back in along with demonic growls on top. You’re also met with more chanting vocals that consume the background. You really don’t get to many growls in these tracks but when you do they will knock you on your ass.

If you’re looking for an aggressive track to bang your head to, then you’ll love songs like “Smokefall” and Latent Thistle.” Right out of the gate come ripping guitar riffs with exploding drums that will have you bashing your head and throwing up your devil horns in no time. Devilish growls enter for a short period while the relentless guitars beat you into the ground. You do manage to catch a quick break to catch you breathe while soft acoustic guitars play a brief riff. Then its right back to the monstrous guitars and deep growls. “Latent Thistle,” being one of the shorter songs on the album, also starts right off the bat with chugging guitars and machine gun snares. Wicked guitar melodies are performed about a minute in that are surrounded by reckless growls and dark strings. The short guitar solos sound like they were played by Lucifer himself. The band does a magnificent job with their delivery.

I’ve only mentioned half of the songs on the album and clearly you can see I’ve had so much to say. If you like what I’ve described so far then definitely make sure you check this album out. There are still more surprises on the album that you will have to hear for yourself. I swear you won’t be disappointed. This is neo-classical metal at its best!

8.5/10

Band camp - http://aquilus.bandcamp.com/
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/aquilusband