I love extreme metal bands. Somnus Aeternus is just that. They blend doom, death, and prog metal into their own unique brew. They are a cross between October Tide, Swallow the Sun and Obscura in my opinion. Since I do love all of those bands, “Exulansis” felt like a good fit. For the most part, the album is a good fit.
The opener “Zen and the Demise” is a powerhouse track which has some sublime fretless bass, lumbering riffs and a section that is faster (for them) that RIPS. I love the band’s use of keyboards, especially the Hammond sound. While I do enjoy death vocals, the vocals on this track veer toward the dreaded pink oink sound that bands like Cannibal Corpse use. It’s not QUITE that thankfully but it’s close. Vocalist Insomnic sounds like Mikko Kotamäki of Swallow the Sun for the most part.
The Hammond returns on “Insecure Pawn,” which coupled with a clean vocal and a KILLER guitar solo, make it one of my favorite tracks. The song does get heavier, including death vocals, as it goes but never loses it’s melody. “Frostbound” is another slow moving doomfest. The thing that I like about Somnus Aeternus is that they are still quite technical sounding despite being doom. Too many doom bands just play slow. Somnus Aeternus make sure the playing is challenging regardless of the pace.
The one other issue is there is a bit of similarity at times to the tracks. I noticed it when getting to “Pain Through Oblivion.” It seems too similar and like I’ve heard it before. I do enjoy that the band use keys throughout the album and “Reaching the Anattá” has some bad ass PIANO and yes more killer organ. The album closes with the brief instrumental “VI” which sounds like modern day Opeth.
Overall, Somnus Aeternus maybe wear their influences a bit too readily on their sleeves. Still, the band are really good at what they do and “Exulansis” is a gut wrenching slab of progressive doom metal. If you are a fan of the aforementioned bands, you’d do well to check this band out.
- Zen and the Demise
- Insecure Pawn
- Path Through Oblivion
- Reaching the Anattá