This one's a suggestion from the recently more busy than usual suggestions post. A two-track EP you say? Can I write enough about that? Challenge accepted. What rode out to meet me upon listening was an interesting blend of melodic-death metal with folk flavouring, in an EP which had it's ups and downs.
What first hit me was a wave of slightly overproduced percussion, and a burst of synth produced folk-instrumentation which can't quite initially decide whether it is nautical or epic. The production, I presume is fairly average for melodic-death-metal, but owing to the relatively low amount of the genre I listen too, and the relatively high production values it's known for, this might just be to my ear. This is worth giving the benefit of the doubt however, as despite it's ambivalence, it becomes slowly more epic and in a way also fun - It may be dealing with epic themes - and the band's aesthetic suggests this - but it is also fun and catchy, which is one of the things which folk metal does well, as does folk music in general. The melodic death-metal side of the equation gives the music more impact, but also makes it less bouncy than "pure" folk metal - Nonetheless, the arrangement in terms of folk and death-metal in the band's songs is relatively smooth-flowing and well-inserted, despite a relatively conventional guitar and drum style.
The folk style definitely has it's moments, and epicness is dispatched occasionally, often accompanied with memorable hooks. In many places, the instrumentation which the keyboard is aiming at producing is somewhat ambiguous, with accordions, and all sorts of other things going on, and with a multitude of sounds, varying from symphonic to celtic to somewhat piratesque, none of which seem to fit with the Norse overtone of the EP's aesthetics, aside from in a few places. Of course, bands with no synth at all often do Norse-themed songs, so this can be relatively overlooked in the grand scheme of things - certainly this seems to be folk-melodeath which happens to talk about Odin, as opposed to an attempt at "viking metal". From a technical point of view, the band are very competent, with tight playing from everyone involved. The vocals may be a little generic, but they're good nonetheless, and the rest of the band do what they do nicely, with fast, accurate drums and guitars which suit the melodeath they play.
While I probably wouldn't have looked at this band if it hadn't been suggested, I can't say I've regretted listening to it - As a band, Aether Realm are certainly capable of good things - their competence is demonstrated nicely in this EP, and with a few changes; less crisp production, and a less arbitrary folk-element, the band will do well.
I give this a 6/10.
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Aether Realm on Metal Archives