Album Review: Ætheria Conscientia – “Corrupted Pillars Of Vanity” 9/10 (Prog Black)

Written by Zax

  • Ætheria ConscientiaCorrupted Pillars of Vanity
  • Progressive Black Metal from France
  • Released independently on April 9th, 2021
  • 8/10

I’ve not covered a lot of black metal on the site this year, but man, this here is going to be one of the most talked about black metal records of the year, and for good reason! I predict that this album will be to 2021 what Vile Luxury was to 2018, except, like, way better than that album was.

Ætheria Conscientia are a little known progressive black metal band from France that have been making some waves in the more progressive, brainy subsets of extreme metal with their newest record Corrupted Pillars of Vanity. It’s easy to see why too, their grasp on song and album structure is very unique, and the amazing stabs at jazz fusion on this album make it an easy sell for metalheads into progressive music.

Before we get into what makes this band so special, let’s discuss the strong baseline they have as a band. The guitar work is incredibly layered and dynamic, it also provides an ominous atmosphere that’s weirdly alien sounding, which I suppose coincides with their space themed lyrics. This atmosphere is helped along by deep, smooth, and melodic bass lines that cascade over the listener. The percussion is also hard-hitting and complex, and the vocals, while fairly standard, are definitely nice. The dude has some powerful mids.

Now that you know what we’re working with, let’s talk about what sets this band apart, starting with the composition. The record has 5 tracks and clocks in at around 56 minutes, and I want to give some special attention to one track in particular, the almost 9 minute long epic that is “Liturgy for the Ekzunreh.” The song starts a bit slow, and throughout the runtime, it actively gets more hectic and epic. It also sounds a bit occult, having repetitive, foreboding lyrics that become sort of like chants. So, to recap, this song is a spacey, epic slow burn with strong occult vibes. If that doesn’t read as fucking awesome to you, I don’t know what will man.

Artwork by Amaury Pottier

Then, obviously, you have the jazz elements, which mainly consists of a fantastic saxophone performance that runs through the whole record, and y’all, I love saxophones. My favorite death metal song of all time is “Subtle Change” by Rivers Of Nihil, so like, saxophone in metal is the way to my heart, and these guys were just like, “fuck it, let’s put a sax on the whole album.” Absolute power move.

I only see this album gaining more steam as the year progresses, and I honestly see lots of promise in this band’s future. This is a mindblowing effort of epic proportions.

8/10

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