The debut album from Canadian metallers Éohum is a fascinating proposition which manages to startle and surprise whilst simultaneously ticking every box on a personal want list from any weave of music. It is as if they instinctively knew what turned us on and explored those elements with relish. It is fair to say that Revelations, Aurora of An Epoch will not find the same level of reaction from everyone but it is hard to imagine many not breeding some kind of appetite for it and the band’s creative adventure.
The Montreal based and 2010 formed, Éohum (pronounced ee-o-um) is the creation of guitarist/bassist Jeremy Perkins, a “traditionalist and spirit oriented” band embracing a black metal breeding with anthemic grooving and doom cultured atmospheres. Equally in songs inspired by poems written by Perkins on the current state of humanity, rich elements of death and progressive metal are woven though not quite as dramatically and excitingly as the almost exotic roars of French horn which also inflame the album’s earlier tracks. The band’s live line-up sees Perkins joined by guitarist Sylvain Dumont and Annie Perreault on French horn/trumpet as well as bassist James Heymans, drummer Simon Bambic-Mackay of The Agonist and vocalist Barrie Butler. For the album though, Perkins enlisted the help of friends alongside himself, Dumont and Perreault; guests which include vocally Matt McGachy of Cryptopsy and Nick Wybo (ex-Vinyl Hero) on drums. It all sounds a fluid and unpredictable canvas the band works from and certainly flows over into the music and character of Revelations, Aurora Of An Epoch.
The album surprises and fascinates from start to finish, increasing in stature and success with every listen as more of its depths are revealed. The opening Leaving Harbour is maybe not quite the same but only because once the sultry scenery around a vocal piece of scene setting prose narrated by Lana Edwards is absorbed and appreciated, the tendency in every subsequent listen is to cut to the chase which begins with the next track Rooted Deep Within. An eruption of battlefield mayhem hits the imagination first but is soon swallowed by the imposing muscular and portentous intensity of death spawned riffs and rhythms. That alone grips attention but with the heralding horns blown by the lips of Perreault, an epically honed atmosphere makes its suggestive intrigue known before the track explodes into a virulent pestilential charge of venomous grooves and scarring riffery. The tempestuous instrumental track is like a hellacious dawning, one of danger and excitement employing wrong-footing experimental twists and progressive ideation.
The piece simply grips and inflames the imagination, not to mention ears, before Equatorial Rains takes over with a more temperate climate and confrontation. A deliciously throaty and resonating bassline from Perkins seduces ears and appetite straight away, swiftly aided by the flames of brass from Perrault and the caustic enterprise sculpted by the guitars. The breaking blackened malevolence and uncompromising rabidity in gait and aggression brings further appetising flavours and textures to the ever moving volume of sound and invention, as does the ferocious and cleaner rasping tones of McGachy. It is a formidable and relentlessly eventful provocation feeding ears and emotions potently with those horns the icing on the emotive antagonistic cake.
Defined Sacredness comes next, opening on a predatory prowl of rhythms and riffs, each almost more theatrical in their stance than vicious but only helping lure the listener into the waiting slightly demonic narrative of fierce corrosive sound and rage bleeding vocals. Stabs of brass and heavy sighs of horn colour the hostile persuasion further, their toxic hues as virulently alluring as the riveting presence of McGachy.
The album’s title track has body and thoughts enthralled from its first breath; a roar of French horn announcing the tempest to come like a war cry, casting a challenge to be met before the song swiftly begins savaging the senses with sheer malicious contagion and intensity. It is a call continuing through the superb track, those golden flames of the horns an inescapable web of seduction within the destructive and to be honest equally addictive torrent of scarring grooves, abrasing riffery, and merciless rhythms. Bracing and arousing, like an anthem bred in hell, the track is a hymn for the lost and bellow for the despoilers, and quite breath-taking.
In many ways this is where Revelations, Aurora of an Epoch goes in a different direction, or certainly a less provocatively adventurous one. Wiser Every Sunrise which features Phillip Rieder on vocals is a collusion of heavy, groove, and death metal with hardcore/punk belligerence. Strangely familiar for unsure reasons, the enjoyable track is a brawling and volatile slab of animosity but even though it has ears and satisfaction heartily contented it does not live up to the previous tracks, feeling slightly out of place alongside them, which also applies to a lesser degree to Thus Spewed Thy Infectious Reign, a death spawned ravaging with a doom fuelled gait guided by an unpredictable creative menace. As its predecessor, the song only leaves good thoughts, inspiring them to contemplate the end of days/humanity but also hankering for the glorious horns and imagination seeded swing of earlier tracks.
Closing on Give Us O’ Rain, another piece of prose sung by Lana Edwards, Revelations, Aurora of An Epoch provides one predominately unique and intoxicating introduction to a band you can only imagine getting bigger, creatively grander, and more impressive over time. As suggested it might not light everyone’s fire as ours but if the likes of Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Trepalium, and We All Die (Laughing) for example spark your juices, then so will Éohum.
Revelations, Aurora of An Epoch is available now via Mycelium Networks @ https://eohum.bandcamp.com/album/revelations-aurora-of-an-epoch
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