Album: Being [EP]
It’s not unheard of for albums to get too caught up in their own concepts and stories to deliver musically. Especially these days, when it seems that more and more, a release needs to delve into deep, meaningful lyrical territory to even be noticed–regardless of whether the lyrics are even understandable to begin with. Along come Aegaeon, with their latest offering, Being, providing a careful blend of thought provoking and pseudo-scientific lyricism wrapped in a brutally crushing yet technically proficient package.
Ignoring the introductory track, Being kicks off with a bang: thundering, thumping percussion accompanied by grooving and riffing guitars, topped off with deep, guttural vocals. The two guitars work together to keep “Demise”–and the rest of the album–grinding along, but with just enough groove to provide smooth transitions from heavier sections to shreddier sections. The low, muddy tone of the bass and the rhythmic guitar, along with the near-growled vocals help lend a low-end to Aegaeon’s sound that makes even the absurdly atmospheric or tepidly technical sections of Being heavy and groovy. The lead guitar functions oppositely, however, always providing just enough oddly timed, high-pitched noodling to keep the chugged, sludgy sections from becoming monotonous. Together, these elements, played over top of punchy, driving drums provide the hyperactive dynamic that Aegaeon have worked at establishing with their past releases.
Being’s dynamic is solidified concretely by the persistently low and guttural vocals employed throughout the EP. Even while the guitars reach unique and dazzling heights, as seen in the lead single, “Demise,” or despite the incredulously and skull-smashingly heaviest segments as seen on “Human” or “The Memory,” Aegaeon never break their low-pitch stride. Typically, such adherence to a specific style would work against a band, providing nothing but stagnancy and monotony, however, this is not the case for Aegaeon’s Being. While the other instruments soar, the low vocals both keep the album anchored and provide marvelous contrast. However, when the guitars drop and rumble alongside the muddy, subterranean bass, the vocals get low right beside them, matching the heavy atmosphere perfectly. The simple truth is that Aegaeon provide enough musical variation to make the one-track-mind nature of the vocals a plus, rather than a minus
In fact, the only “minus” Aegaeon pack under their belt with Being is the duration–or lack thereof. Perhaps, as a fan of Dissension’s long-winded, progressive nature, I have a bias, but Being just doesn’t seem to last long enough to truly do the band justice. When one bears in mind the entire EP comes in at under twenty two minutes–less, if you subtract the moderately pointless “Introduction”–there just doesn’t seem to be enough to completely satiate the listener. Granted, Being is a densely-packed juggernaut, even amongst it’s progressive deathcore peers, it still takes at least two, maybe even three, spins for the listener to truly get their fill. Even this detractor works somewhat in Aegaeon’s favor, as it also forced the listener to notice effects and flourishes that might have been missed the first time around.
Depravity, emotion, humanity and of course, the multiverse are all topics touched on in Aegaeon’s Being. However, even for the most science-phobic amongst us, there is more than enough to love nestled between the grooving and shredding guitars, pounding drums, deep vocals and, of course, skull-smashing, spine-rending heaviness. In fact, maybe the wide range of reactions that Aegaeon are capable of eliciting are designed as such to remind the listener that it’s not so bad being human after all.
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism