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Downfall of Gaia - Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay


by Matt Hensch

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If I'd had the motivation to create a list of my favorite albums of 2014, "Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay" would have forced me to undergo a series of escapades of the temporal variety to alter the past and give it the glorious honor of having a place on my list. I'll admit Downfall of Gaia's second album did not catch my attention until 2015, but I know many of my would-be nominees for my nonexistent list would have had their hemorrhoid holes pounded by this sprawling, colossal epic. "Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay" carries the torch of post-black metal left on a teethed injury by Altar of Plagues while implementing atmospheric components that take their time to materialize to the listener, its secrets never shared at once.

A principal as such requires care and sophistication that is often overlooked by most, but Downfall of Gaia is different. Teetering between distressing black metal motifs and subtle post-rock elements that invoke visions of ashen skies and urban decay, the amalgamation they present is stretched out by lengthy tracks that, in turn, supply rich instrumentation and near-perfect levels of drama. As I mentioned, Downfall of Gaia has a lot in common with Altar of Plagues; the striking tremolo picking and the bleak post-rock sections of Ireland's finest black metal export are the fulcrums on which these cogs turn. They are their own band, however, not some chumps mirroring an innovative group who find themselves stuck in a creative corner.

"Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay" is unbounded by limitations that would otherwise restrict its depth and variety. The songs are leviathans built upon small bits that are intricately balanced and placed carefully into the flow of the album-little nuts and bolts that stabilize the skyscraper. The disorderly drum fills near the end of "Darkness Inflames These Sapphire Eyes" and the soft chords leading the instrumental "Ascending the Throne" to segue into "Of Stillness and Solitude" as if they were one and the same are excellent examples of the album's ability to escalate in intensity and build up tension. The black metal riffs weave fluidly among storms of blast beats and sludgy sections, which work to grasp an unparalleled sense of dreadful beauty. Downfall of Gaia is a sight to behold.

The final track, "Excavated," shows the group building an eerie, diminutive sequence up to a tidal wave of ferocious blast beats and tremolo picked riffs that still echoes its unnerving commencement despite taking several minutes to reach its immense climax. "Excavated" sums up the delicacy within Downfall of Gaia and "Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay," not to mention it sounds a lot like the 28 Weeks Later theme, which is always a fantastic way to win me over. But then, I have to praise the magnificent guitar parts, the tortured vocals, the complex drum patterns, the subtle songs, and the million mysteries within the seams of "Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay" that are profound and overwhelming. Like traversing into endless fog and feeling its secrets are fathomless, it is a voyage like no other.

Downfall of Gaia - Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay
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