The excessive supply of music that we have been experiencing with the digitalisation of music has not only contributed to the creation of more and more unnoticed music, but has also changed many people’s consumption habits. When we have an infinite number of records at a couple of clicks’ reach, do we really stop to listen to what we are hearing? On many occasions the answer will be no. Otherwise, I would have told you about AARA at least a couple of years ago.
For those unfamiliar with the name, AARA is a Swiss band, initially formed by the duo Berg (all instruments) and Fluss (lyrics and vocals) who were joined by J. as drummer on their previous release: En ergô einai (2020). In March this year they presented the album I am talking about in this article, Triade I: Eos; third full-length, and the first of a trilogy inspired by Charles Maturin’s gothic horror novel Melmoth the Wanderer.
Eos is like a non-visual theatrical play in which the protagonists are the instruments. The main role is played by the multiple guitars and their intense dialogues; how they merge, duplicate and develop some melodies that, if they weren’t tremolo picking played, would sound like classical pieces.
Continuing with the simile, a great part of the stage is built of melodic black metal that brings different sound, scales and influences in relation to the most common trends (French, German, American scene…). The other part of the set is built by death metal, and sometimes it is the bass acting on it, as «Tantalusqual«, other times it’s the guitar and drums, like at the end of «Naufragus«, in one of the scenes of «Nimmermehr«, and in some riffs hidden under the speed of black metal.
We will also taste industrial/ambient, not only in the form of a passage or intro like the beginning of the first track, «Fathum«, which lasts a minute and a half. It will be in the form of concrete ambient effects, synths and keyboards that, together with choral/orchestral chants that appear throughout the entire script, will form the atrezzo.
In the six pieces that compose Triade I: Eos we will find endless delightful details. The fills of J.’s perfect drumming alone are more than enough to have us clapping our hands. But, going back to «Fathum«, and making this extensible to its general modus operandi, it is divided into different parts; one of them is a passage with wind and nature sounds starring an acoustic guitar. A precious moment of peace that Fluss abruptly ends with her high-pitched, agonizing growl. The singer has a tone that makes a spectacular contrast with the harmonies, or on top of the low choruses as in «Das Wunder«. The evolution of the melodies, particularly in «Nimmermehr» or «Tantalusqual«, how they are born and what they become. Or, the fact that it is not a repetitive, excessively fast-paced album or one that constantly evokes fights with swords and horses or demoniacal sacrifices. In fact, the most epic part is the one that puts the curtains down, «Effugium«, which brings some sort of naval battle.
Those who like overly clean production may be pickier with this one. I would have asked for a bit more volume on vinyl, but I love the sound of the snare and drums. The bass, which by the way is also very good, can be heard at all times without any other instrument blocking it out. The clarity of the guitars…
Let’s stop for a moment and give ourselves the pleasure to put all our senses in this album that will not take long to capture our attention. AARA, based on Melmoth the Wanderer, have given us all the tools to let our minds create the plot. But allow yourselves to enjoy it long enough to get to the most beautiful and complex part: visualising the musical ensemble and letting your imagination tell you the story they tell.