In 1820 the Irish playwright finished his gothic novel ‘Melmoth the Wanderer’. In this tale, the lead character Melmoth is a scholar who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for 150 extra years of life, and is then left to search the world for someone who will take over the pact for him. Receiving critical acclaim from the likes of Oscar Wilde, Walter Raleigh and H.P. Lovecraft, the story inspired many a writer on their trail of demons and horror. Likewise, it inspired the Swiss band Aara to base not one album but an entire trilogy of records on this novel. That trilogy is concluded with the release on ‘Triade III – Nyx’ in 2023, which follows the 2021 released ‘Triade I – Eos’ and the 2022 record ‘Triade II – Hemera’.
Ever since their inception in 2018 Aara has been honing their brand of high tempo atmospheric and melodic Black Metal, and on their fifth album the band hasn’t made any drastic departure from the material of the other parts of the trilogy. The blazing and blasting double bass drums offer a backdrop for the meandering guitar melodies, which are given a heavy undertone by the low tuning of the rhythm guitars. Against this heavier layer and melodic guitars, the shrill vocal shrieks pierce the listener’s perception like nails on the chalkboard of the soul. The melodies are dreamlike, much like ‘Melmoth the Wanderer’ describes dreams of the main character, taking the listener by the hand through captivating riffs. The drum pace changes frantically, offering a wide array of diversity throughout the progressing tracks. Subtle keyboards manifest themselves for instance like mournful chanting souls like in ‘Moribunda’ and ‘Unstern’, although they are often fairly submissive to the guitar leads. Still, combined with the dynamic drums, harsh vocals and contrast between heavy rhythm guitars and leading melodies they make for a varied whole, and it becomes clear how much effort the band has put in perfecting their melodic Black Metal craft.
The entrancing riffs of ‘Emphase der Seelenpein’ count among my favorites of the album, together with the more sweeping melodies and atmospheric approach of ‘Des Wanderers Traum’. ‘Unstern’ seems to capture the melancholy fitting with both the novel and perhaps also of the band sensing the end of their three-album project while ‘Edo et Edam – Ich Bring hervor um Auszufressen’ ends the trilogy is a yearning manner, remaining slightly lower in pace at the gain of continuous variation in the leads. And so the story of Melmoth has been written and performed by Aara, in a climax that can match the level of ‘Triade II – Hemera’. Fans of the band will welcome this latest album with a warm embrace, and perhaps a tone of melancholy that this story is now closed, yearning for a new chapter to begin.
- Country: Switzerland
- Style: Black Metal
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