ALBUM: In Embers
Genre: Melodic death metal
A lot of albums worth of listening came out in the last few months – I’ve been working ont he album review of the latest Amon Amarth for a good while now, but it is hard to write when there is nothing to write about. It is a great record but it is hard to formulate my thoughts, because it features nothing new compared to their old albums. When such a writer’s block occures, I go to Youtube for inspiration. The channel UnknownMelodeath has introduced me to so many great underground albums, for example In Embers by the Polish Aether. I have heard of the band before, their debut EP, Tale of Fire in 2016 became an instant favourite and I still go back to it every now and then. I didn’t actually follow the banda part from this, so it was a surprise to hear that they released their first LP. When I first listened to it, my immediate reaction was a loud „holy fuck”.
So, to wrap up the band’s biography real quick:
they are a pretty young band, formed in 2016 in Poland. Their first release came in 2016 with the title Tale of Fire. It quickly became apparent that they are taking music seriously, because already the epic melodic death metal songs you could hear were mindblowing. Despite them not being super famous yet, they are already touring a lot. They have already had 40 shows in Poland but also in Romania, they played with Batushka, Percival and Skald, and headlined Celtic Transilvania in 2018.
I had the luck to come across Michał Miluśki, the guitarist-singer of the band. When I saw his name in an international Facebook group about melodic death metal, I seized the opportunity to ask him a few things about the band and he was immediately very helpful.
But now about the record itself…
If you don’t know what epic melodeath means, the first minute will give you the best possible example. The beginning of the album already features all kinds of things: melodic riffs, epic keyboard themes and strong harsh vocals. The song Golden Eyed Fox sums up all that is about to come on the album.
If we go further ont he tracklist, we get more and more mindblown. Of course Aether didn’t invent the wheel, but they are combining the very best elements of melodeath in such a perfect, precise and talented way, that make a song perfect. We could mention the song Wildfire Within which is like a fusion of Wintersun and Children of Bodom. Not that this was the most important aspect. The song is just so positively overwhelming that you don’t care what it resembles. And the guitar solo…! I think this is the perfect example of how to build mood and tension in a song, and then have a solo lead to catarsis. Perfect.
If we are talking about melodic songs, Tale of Fire is a perfect example. It’s a song to move your head and dive into a masterpiece of midtempo melodies, perfected by the keys and guitars. Epic.
You might hear some German melodeath influence, but maybe I’m just imagining it.
I don’t usually go song by song in the reviews, because it is more important to highlight a few songs that define the album, but I am having trouble selecting them, because which ones do I leave out?! The songs are so versatile that the best would be to simply mention them all.
However, let’s turn our attention to the song Last Battle. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that this song is the perfect Polish Wintersun. And not in a bad way, but with the biggest respect. This is even better than Wintersun. And to „defeat” the leaders in their own genre! This is the songs that also presents how well the album is mixed – the instruments are in perfect harmony, nothing is overrepresented or too loud, the drums are not overly „clicky”, the guitar isn’t „whiny”, the vocals are not in the background, everything is heard when and how they should be heard.
The balance between harsh vocals and clean vocals is also great, just perfect in the Amorphis-like song, Insomnia. Sometimes you hear metal songs where the contrast between the two kinds of vocals is huge, but here the melody and tone of them are so similar that if you swapped them, the song would still work perfectly.
Let me mention one of the most important aspects: the guys are definitely not joking when it comes to making an album, the list of guest musicians they invited is rather impressive. Rolf Pilve who you could know from Wintersun and Stratovarius recorded the drums, Vincent Jackson from Aether Realm recorded the vocals for Wildfire Within, and Rosa Rosiński, Topias Kupiainen (Arion), Aneta Sikorska were also among the invited guest vocalists.
It is not easy to find even more words to praise this album and the whole band, but they deserve all of them. I have been wishing for a good, powerful, melodeath album for a while now, but I didn’t expect something to impress me this much. This year has been generous with Soilwork, In Flames, Bodom, but for some reason, none of them made me feel like Aether does. Perfection.
Fort he last part, read our mini-interview with the frontman Michał Miluśki:
When was the idea of Aether born?
The idea of creating a band was born exactly 4 years ago from this moment, spring of 2015. That was the time when we started writing our first songs (the very first being “Last Battle“, if someone’s curious).
What are you the proudest of, as musicians or band, so far?
The album, definitely. And the whole process behind it, like collaborating with Rolf Pilve from Stratovarius/Wintersun, travelling to Finland, working with great mixing and mastering engineers. That is something absolutely outstanding to me!
How hard it is to actively seek for opportunities as a band of your size?
It is very hard, especially when you don’t have a professional manager to take care of things for you
How does the song writing process look?
Hard to say… someone had an idea, a melody stuck in their head and then we would play and think about it for hours and hours until it was a little piece of music a minute or so. Then we would do the same with this minute until we got a song that we were satisfied with!
How did you get in touch with the designer of your album artwork?
No damn idea, I just don’t remember. But he’s a great guy, he knows his job and he’s usually working as a graphic designer for fantasy games, which is really cool!
You have new version of songs on the LP. Why did you rerecorded/remastered it?
We decided to rerecord the entire EP for the album, because of two things. Firstly, we really liked those EP songs, but we couldn’t listen to them, because the production sounded like shit Secondly, our further ideas were revolving around those songs, so it fell right and natural to have them on the album – especially that they fit really well!