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SULPHUR AEON
SULPHUR AEON
Gateway To The Antisphere
(Ván Records / Imperium Productions)
51:55min

After over two decades listening to Death Metal, I am seldom very impatient to hear a new album of a band. It is nice to listen to new material of known bands, but I am more than patient to wait now, until a release is out and falls in my hands. With the new album of one of Germanys leading forces in Death Metal, SULPHUR AEON, I was really curious and impatient to hear the new material and how they would develop their style and if they can manage to write another good album on a similar high level than their debut. And the answer is yes. "Gateway To The Antisphere" is a real masterpiece and the yardstick for all Death Metal releases to come this year. The opening track '...To Drown This World' gives a good overview about the band's current level in 2015. Within just twenty seconds, the band takes the listener once again on a dark trip into the menacing universe of H.P. Lovecraft. The bombastic and dense atmosphere catches you and takes you down into their dark world. Their atmosphere is really making the difference compared to other Death Metal bands and their releases. While those bands simply play Death Metal, SULPHUR AEON create darkness and atmosphere and by the way another milestone in Germany's Death Metal history. The production of Simon Werner, who also was responsible for their previous recordings, can only be describes as perfect. The powerful and precise drumming, with pounding double-bass and blistering snares, is delivering the dense background to this apocalyptic soundtrack. The guitars of Torsten Horstmann are dark, powerful, precise and not less menacing. He also played the pounding bass lines on this recording. The guitar technic is excellent. Compact rhythm guitars, refined with brilliant leads and melodies. The speed in the interaction of the instruments varies between slow and fast and serves all wishes of a Death Metal lunatic. Their fine sense for melodies is amazing and seldom, a new release caught me that much. The dark grunts and caws of vocalist Martin Hellion fit wonderul into this perfect picture and completes their fine musical marvel. Compared to their debut, this is the better sequel, as their influences, which were a bit more obvious on their debut, melted into their own style and faded into the background and the band found their own style and have perfected this within the last two years. Even more, as once again I need to say, that this album has such a bombastic sound, that this is the real perfect soundtrack for day x, when all life will cease. The songwriting is perfect and each song on its own is a little masterpiece and all songs are on the same level, so the album can only be rated as a whole piece of art. The brilliant artwork by Ola Larsson completes this piece of darkness. The album will be released in digipak format as well as on vinyl. With "Gateway To The Antisphere", SULPHUR AEON have delivered their "Reign In Blood" and maybe the best Death Metal release for this year. I am curious to hear, what the next album will bring us. Check them out via the following sites: www.facebook.com/sulphuraeon, www.van-records.de, www.facebook.com/pages/imperium-productions/164960710278969

Michael Kujawska

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SULPHUR AEON
SULPHUR AEON
Gateway To The Antisphere
(Ván Records / Imperium Productions)
51:55min

The usual deadline for a VFTD review is seven days, but no matter how often you listen to this release, one week is not enough time to recognize all details. I have been listening to "Gateway To The Antisphere" a dozen times by now and just getting started to realize what kind of musical monument SULPHUR AEON delivered. The debut "Swallowed By The Ocean's Tide" (released early 2013) was superb, already a cenotaph of German Death Metal and still an all-time bestseller of F.D.A. Records, the label responsible for excellent Death Metal outputs during the last few years. In the meantime the band from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, switched to Ván Records. If you know the fine releases by this German label, a comprehensible choice. Thankfully the music was not perturbed by the label change. It is still a kind of mixture between BOLT THROWER, IMMOLATION and MORBID ANGEL. Sounds quite strange, but if you try to put it short it is the best description, I guess. Lots of mid-tempo and double bass drumming, speeding up from time to time, on the basis of downtuned Death Metal riffs, guitar leads with a certain mystic and chaotic drift are unfolding. The vocals are this kind of deep grunts with an understandable pronunciation. There are plenty of Death Metal vocalists sounding like a defunct blender or vacuum cleaner, but not in this case. The sound is droning, dark, forceful and very organic without being sterile or polished. Some people are not satisfied about the drum sound of the nine songs (plus intro and outro), but I guess that is just a personal preference. The album is elaborately decorated by the cover art, done by Ola Larsson, who was also in charge of the cover for the predecessor. Enough said, get your copy of this masterpiece of Death Metal! For all further information check out: www.facebook.com/sulphuraeon, www.van-records.de, www.facebook.com/pages/imperium-productions/164960710278969

Mirco Szymyslik

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SULPHUR AEON
SULPHUR AEON
Gateway To The Antisphere
(Ván Records / Imperium Productions)
51:55min

An outstanding record is mostly recognized by its detailed and distinctive spaces. Its way of various entertaining moments and possibilities to establish a broad range of different benchmarks and experiences. For example you take a walk in the woods and you are able to accentuate your impressions with the music of that record. Or reading a book and not being discarded by the music but being able to immerse deeper in the story and make it even more tangible. Those albums are capable to frame intense personal moments in life. But the best about them is, when the subject itself, with its artistic qualities, is taken individually, and then opens up new vistas as an independent work of art. Something you can drown in, and discover a versatile range of stories which are attained just though the record. That would be, at least my understanding of an outstanding record. With SULPHUR AEON's "Gateway To The Antisphere", I can do so. It's complex enough, for starting the expedition to the cosmic castle of the gods ('Onwards... Towards Kadath'), over and over, without being forced to walk the same detected alleys again. The reason for those various travel options, is definitely the production. It might be very high class for some. But the record absolutely benefits from it. In the stream of profound sophisticated arrangements it's marking the important moments as well as letting the sound strike out its own way, without loosing focus. Therefore it's clearly chased and pressuring arranged. Brutal and fast riffing alternates with dark mid-tempo parts. Melodic passages with disharmonious death conjuring rituals. A truly powerful, in many ways creatively guitar work is the special feature on this LP. My only little personal complaint would be the very edited double bass. But fuck it, this is nothing seriously unpleasant. It joins forces with the guitars the only way possible, I think. The voice is typically guttural but therefore pretty clean. Something I like simply because it gives you the possibility to listen to the text and enjoy the whole thing completely. With "The Gateway To The Antisphere", Ván Records manages once more, to bring out a unique record in its genre. It's dismal, it's challenging contorted, it's imperiously, it's an epic adventure. For me, an extra class listening experience. www.facebook.com/sulphuraeon, www.van-records.de, www.facebook.com/pages/imperium-productions/164960710278969

Spitzl

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SULPHUR AEON
SULPHUR AEON
Gateway To The Antisphere
(Ván Records / Imperium Productions)
51:55min

SULPHUR AEON rise again. Back in January 2015 I saw a list of the upcoming and tentative releases from various labels and among the entire list the SULPHUR AEON release was a big excitement as their debut album was a massive release. It literally brought a stroke of freshness out of the old school Death Metal bands putting out records and splits one after another. So right on time for the holy week, this Teutonic Death masters with the help of the (also German) label Ván Records are putting out this truly obscure, twisted, intelligent and devastating masterpiece. This time the band pushed the ideas and structures of the band to a higher deeper place, an almost untouchable deeper place. The album kicks in with a half spoken / half instrumental track that sets the mood of what's to come. Once the second track fades in a thick sense of oppression will assault your whole body (I'm not joking here), but at the same time you will hear how organized and tight the album is, how everything sounds neat and right on spot. Fast and furious (not the movie… smartass) in the right moments and slow and punishing right were the songs need it. It's almost a miracle these days to hear a good bass sound out of a Death Metal band; well here the bass is stellar. Now let's talk about the grandeur of this record, the songs structure is magnificent, like banging your head to a wall nonstop at the same rhythm that will make you feel dizzy and almost hypnotically harmed. There are keyboards, lots of ambient noise and obscure melodies all over the place. 80% of the songs run above the 5 minutes mark, meaning we have lots of music to digest and every single time you put it back again in your player you will fall in love with a different section of each song, no fillers here just pure awesome Death Metal the way it should be. I don't like to make comparisons, especially with the bands that are exploring new grounds like SULPHUR AEON, but I bet a bunch of people will say that this record can be compared to what DEAD CONGREGATION, BEHEMOTH and INCANTATION did with their most recent releases with a bit of HORRENDOUS and SLAUGHTERDAY mixed in, but in my humble opinion I think "Gateway To The Antisphere" just stands out on its own just of how diverse it can be from one track to another but retaining the base of the trademark sound through the entire album. This keep things interesting and makes it a hell of a ride. Music made with the heart and evil soul. Like the close of a chapter that will make you run to the next one, but you need to wait for it to be unleashed upon you. And just to wrap things up, if everything I wrote is not enough for you, take a look at the artwork and tell me you don't want to buy it and make a frame so you can hang it on your wall, it is that great. So get your ass up your seat, rise from the ocean and pay tribute to the mighty Lovecraft, the obscure and the unknown with this album at the following locations: www.facebook.com/sulphuraeon, www.van-records.de, www.facebook.com/pages/imperium-productions/164960710278969

Mauricio "Rusty" Sanchez

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SULPHUR AEON
SULPHUR AEON
Gateway To The Antisphere
(Ván Records / Imperium Productions)
51:55min

There are very few bands that with their debut album were able to alter my mind. After more than 4 decades of Metal exposition I am amazed that such a thing can still be done. Up to this day some artists are able to send s shiver down my spine while listening to their creation. And I mean few, very few have done that in over 4 decades: MEGADETH, SLAYER, POSSESSED, BATHORY, VIO-LENCE, SARCOFAGO, SEPULTURA, KING DIAMOND, DISSECTION, MAYHEM… The debut albums of these now classic bands are among those. But then many years later, there are bands still coming up with debut albums that are worth to be praised among the consecrated ones. This list includes HADES ARCHER, KETZER, DEAD CONGREGATION, HORRENDOUS, PROCESSION, NECROS CHRISTOS and SULPHUR AEON. But then, when a band releases their second album, and that is even better than their debut, it marks an event in a lifetime. All the aforementioned "newer" bands have already released a second album, and I must say all of them are killer, yet maybe a bit, just a bit below their debut album. Well, all of them except the band we are now talking about: SULPHUR AEON. Their HP Lovecraft influenced Death Metal that was a killer mix of ASPHYX, BOLT THROWER and ENTOMBED has continued to improve and now sounds even more evil, more dark, yet still wickedly melodic and horrendous. The riffs have more than a deadly hook most of the time and the mid-tempo parts are so well crafted and at the same time so passionate, that it has an aura only a few bands are able to conjure nowadays. Remember the chills when listening to "Covenant" from MORBID ANGEL? Well, this gave me a similar vibe. At times they even reminded me to the almighty DAWN (the Swedish one, in my book, in the top three of Death / Black Metal bands of all time). The magnificent cover art is almost nothing compared with the sheer magick of the music. This time the music style reminds me more of the mighty BOLT THROWER with a darker edge, but that is just a vague reference. If you are a Death or Black Metal fan and have set a very high standard for what you listen, this is it. Just listening to the song 'Diluvial Ascension - Gateway To The Antisphere' and there is no doubt left. These guys will be big. They can reclaim the throne left by T. Azagthoth and what is left of his heritage. Only a few second albums are of this caliber: "Darkness Descends", "Pleasure To Kill", "Possessed By Fire", "Leprosy", "Darkness Revelation", "Abigail"… and "Gateway To The Antisphere". Yes, mark my words. Easily my pick for album of the year no matter what month we have. www.facebook.com/sulphuraeon, www.van-records.de, www.facebook.com/pages/imperium-productions/164960710278969

Julián "He Is The Gate" Núńez

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SULPHUR AEON
SULPHUR AEON
Gateway To The Antisphere
(Ván Records / Imperium Productions)
51:55min

It was the year of 2013 when German Cthulu worshippers SULPHUR AEON unleashed their first album "Swallowed By The Ocean's Tide" upon the unsuspecting armies of Metalheads. It raised a lot of dust, for a good reason. "Swallowed By The Ocean's Tide" was nothing less than a fantastic monument of blackened Death Metal with an awesome atmosphere full of blackness, a piece of dark art that caught the spirit of Lovecraftian literature perfectly. To me, it was clear that SULPHUR AEON created a new landmark in Death Metal, really hard to top. Now, two years later, "Gateway To The Antisphere" is here to continue the summoning of The Great Cthulu. And, even though it's hard to believe, the German three-piece not just kept up the high level of the debut, but they excelled themselves. From the first moments of the overture '... To Drown This World', the density of the sound is enormous, the blackness embraces everything. Comparisons to other bands are obsolete for SULPHUR AEON, these guys are a band that others are compared to now. Embedded in a warm and natural production, "Gateway To The Antisphere" places one highlight next to another, be it 'Devotion To The Cosmic Chaos', 'Titans' (the title says almost everything about this song), 'Calls From Below' or 'Abysshex'. The centrepiece of this album is 'Diluvial Ascension - Gateway To The Antisphere', the title track all songs revolve around. The second half of the album brings us some a little more unusual songs, like the pretty melodic 'He Is The Gate', the monumental 'Seventy Steps' and the sinister double 'Onwards... Towards Kadath' and 'Into The Courts Of Azathoth'. But these are as brilliant as the whole album. You can see "Gateway To The Antisphere" only as a total work of dark art that stands for itself, and that's the way to enjoy it. Impressing, indeed. Once again, H.P. Lovecraft woke from eternal sleep and raised both thumbs for SULPHUR AEON. If you're likely to do so as well then visit www.facebook.com/sulphuraeon, www.van-records.de or www.facebook.com/pages/imperium-productions/164960710278969

Thomas Meyer

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SULPHUR AEON
SULPHUR AEON
Gateway To The Antisphere
(Ván Records / Imperium Productions)
51:55min

Even though I have been listening to this album constantly for about a week now it still took me quite a while to find the right words for this review. So, whatever I was typing got erased again rather quickly, because I figured that I would make a complete fool out of me when I would publish it. And I'm still struggeling, even now... The reason is pretty simple: "Gateway To The Antisphere", the second full length album from German Death Metallers SULPHUR AEON, is so close to perfection that everything I have to say about it might just sound exaggerated to those unfamilar with the band. So, let me put it this way: if someone would've told me a couple of years ago that Germany would ever have a very strong and healthy Death Metal scene, I probably wouldn't have believed that. And now, we not only have a shitload of incredible young bands here (that all released awesome albums already!), we even have one that is so amazing in all what they do, that they can easily compete with the big names out there. SULPHUR AEON is literally Black / Death Metal in perfection! It's pretty obvious that the band has its roots in heavy crushing US Death Metal, but they mix it with elements of grim Black Metal so clever that even narrow minded Death Metal diehards will appreciate it. Their overall style is mainly very monumental, with a very dark and overall menacing atmosphere. Everything just comes across extremely heavy in the first place (also due to a fantastic production), but each single song offers so many great little details that you'll discover more and more with each spin of the album. The riffing is just massive and the melodies are haunting, sometimes even reaching traditional Heavy Metal boundaries ('Seventy Steps'), but without sounding cheesy or anything like that. And the incredible tight drumming is pushing the songs very relentlessly whenever it's needed. SULPHUR AEON doesn't sound like any band out there, that's for sure. You won't be able to put the old school SweDeath label on them and they can't be connected to the great number of INCANTATION worshippers from South America either. But if you listen carefully, you'll probably notice that SULPHUR AEON obviously share some influences with bands like DISSECTION (for the dark cold melodies) or BEHEMOTH (for the complexity and almost orchestral sounding stuff). But don't get me wrong here: they are by now means a DISSECTION or BEHEMOTH clone! 'Devotion To The Cosmic Chaos' for example is (despite its overall brutality) a quite catchy song that even offers a very cool oriental sounding melody hidden beneath. And the opening riff of 'Diluvial Ascension - Gateway To The Antisphere' is without a single doubt of equally brilliance as the eternal riffing of such classics as 'Immortal Rites', 'Raining Blood' or 'Cenotaph'. I bet that from now on the band will have to play that song at every fuckin' live show! 'Titans' on the other hand is basically a straight ahead, grim Black Metal song (just check out the guitarwork in the fast parts here), but played with much more heaviness and a brutal Death Metal voice on top of it of course. And while we're just at it: yes, the vocals are gutteral and really brutal, but in that respect definitely more in league with strong, charismatic voices à la Bay Cortez, Ross Dolan or David Vincent. So, don't expect your average cookie monster here. The whole album is just perfect from start to finish and that even includes the brilliant coverartwork (which is a masterpiece!!) and amazing packaging (the digipak CD comes with an additional black slipcase, with silver print on it). So, if any album already has good chances at this point of time to make it into the top ten of our "Best of 2015" readers poll at the end of the year, then it definitely goes by the name of "Gateway To The Antisphere"! In other words: buy or fuckin' die folks! More about SULPHUR AEON at www.facebook.com/sulphuraeon, www.van-records.de or www.facebook.com/pages/imperium-productions/164960710278969

Frank Stöver

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SULPHUR AEON
SULPHUR AEON
Gateway To The Antisphere
(Ván Records / Imperium Productions)
51:55min

Almost all reviews I’ve read so far uses phrases such like “Death Metal album of the year” or “best German Death Metal band ever”. At the moment SULPHUR AEON is doubtlessly one of the most praised Death Metal bands and I’m sure with their second full-length the praise will not stop and they will definitely attract more and more attention. To be honest I don’t understand this at all and I think that most of those reviews are maybe a bit to euphoric. Sure, this is a good and enjoyable album, a solid piece of blackened and darkened Death Metal with an awesome lovecraftian lyrical concept but in my humble opinion this is not too spectacular and nothing you haven’t heard in one way or another before. This combination of NILE / BEHEMOTH technical brutality on one hand and DISSECTION blackened melodies on the other hand isn’t too exciting and not exactly my cup of tea. Surely, the entire concept of SULPHUR AEON is awesome, the Cthulhu mythos is predestinated to be combined with dark atmospheric Death Metal and the artwork is simply outstanding and therefore the band did a great job. I also like the dark atmosphere and some of the songs are really, really good but there is too much bombast for me and some of the melodies are on the edge to be cheesy. Okay, let’s sum it up: “Gateway To The Antisphere” is a good album, you can hear the musical competence of the band every second and the dark fiendish atmosphere fits perfectly to the lyrical concept but I won’t say it’s something really spectacular. As aforementioned I don’t understand the excitement and attention and those raving, over the top reviews but maybe I just don’t fully understand this album. So enter the gateway, join the antisphere and find out for yourself. More information at www.facebook.com/sulphuraeon, www.van-records.de or www.facebook.com/pages/imperium-productions/164960710278969

Hacker

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