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Album Review: Velnias – Scion Of Aether

When the atmospheric/post-black metal/Cascadian black metal wave surged into prominence, there were no hard and fast limitations that had been strangling the genre for so many years. Bands like Agalloch, Primordial, and Fen fused doom, trad folk, and ambient music to the mighty, dark skeleton, creating a new sound that was bursting with inspiration and fresh ideas. As with most original sounds, the scene gets flooded and bloated with followers that, for the most part, ape what came before and don’t push any boundaries. And those that started the whole thing go one of a few ways: continuing to forge ahead, settling into a comfortable area that becomes stale, or breaking up and moving on to new projects. Colorado’s Velnias arrived in 2006 with ambition and gusto, and threw their vibrant paints on the well-preserved Agalloch canvas. Over a couple of well-received full-length albums and a handful of EP’s, they have emerged as a band that now has their own sound and perception, their music always a huge melting pot of vast areas to explore.

Scion Of Aether gives a new playground for us to run around in, upping the progressive elements to give a more rounded and interesting listen. Over the six songs on offer, the dynamics lift, pull, and elevate the music to excess, assuming that the listener is aware that they need to make their own path through the monolithic swathes of sound and color. It’s an ambitious undertaking that succeeds for the most part, although the length of the four main songs (the other two are short instrumentals) sometimes feels stretched out for effect instead of adding to the music itself. That said, “Pariah Of The Infinite” and the huge album-closer, “Oblivion Horizon – Null Terminus,” the strongest pieces on the album, are meticulously constructed to allow numerous shadowy areas filled with tasty tidbits and chest-beating epicness, both bloodthirsty and emotional to the core.

Scion Of Aether is when looked at in context, the strongest collection of music released by Velnias, and fans of the band and this particular mash-up of post-black metal and proggy, folky doom will find a lot to enjoy with repeated listens. The compositions are sound, the playing tight and warm, and the production is wide open and on-point, all adding up to an exciting listen that not only builds on the band’s legacy but shows that they still have a lot to offer and explore on future releases. It’s a winner.

RELEASE DATE: March 27, 2020

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