This year, as we have written about elsewhere frequently, has seen the release of many excellent EPs. And fortunately, the year 2022 has even more to offer. If you don’t believe that, you only have to take 18 minutes to listen to The Quest by the German band Æternia. You can do that, for example, here on Bandcamp…
The Quest begins with an intro that leads the listener a bit astray: “Gates of Æternia“ is opulent and bombastic. Not least the choirs provide plenty of epicness – nevertheless, I didn’t like this prelude so much on the first listen. In the meantime, however, I truly enjoy “Gates of Æternia“, as this composition also contributes to demonstrating the multifaceted nature of the band, which was just founded in 2020 in Siegen (North Rhine-Westphalia).
It really gets going with “Chasing the Wind“, featuring a crunchy metal riff that is a great contrast to the intro just discussed. Daniele’s vocals are absolutely outstanding, he has a rock voice that would entertain any stadium – here, Æternia have a huge weapon at their disposal. Apart from the performance of the man at the mic, the tune is a real hit that combines everything I appreciate in a heavy metal song.
The following “Siren’s Wrath“, which would also have cut a very good figure on one of the last Sorcerer albums, provides even more variety – a fine epic doom number that enthuses me all around. I think Black Sabbath with Tony Martin is one of the Æternia guys’ favourites (I will definitely ask them about it in an interview soon…).
Also worth mentioning is the instrumental interlude “Across the Aegean“ – here there is again a lot of epicness thanks to a very well-done build-up of tension. This short piece shows that there are musicians at work here who are very fond of details and who undoubtedly put a lot of effort into their compositions. Last but not least, “Across the Aegean“ contributes to the fact that The Quest is an EP that is a holistic work with a beginning and an end, and not a collection of only very loosely connected songs.
He will not surrender
Son of Peleus, fate in his eyes
Demigod, thou shalt arise
Your spirit carries us
“The March of Achilles“ is not only 100% Epic Metal Blog-compatible by virtue of the song title: the dreamlike guitars we get here remind me strongly of Lunar Shadow‘s debut album Far from Light, which I adore. So it’s fitting that Sven, the bass player from this band, is on board… Steffen and David don’t have to hide from Max Birbaum at all – the icing on the cake are the doomy passages that combine marvellously with the enchanting, melancholic leads. All in all, we are dealing with another top song here, which deserves a place in every year’s best list with its rousing vocal lines. In other words, “The March of Achilles“ is as if it was written for me, thanks guys!
The closing title track “Untouchable“ is again a very snappy heavy metal number, not least with Sven’s great bass playing and Hendrik’s driving drums. The vocals are once again downright killer – and the chorus should blow away everything live, it catches your ear immediately and I think it will stay there for a long time…
The fact that The Quest is also visually stunning is another plus point: The amazing artwork is by my favourite artist Adam Burke, who has already refined records like The Room of Shadows by Pagan Altar or The Hyperborean by Fer de Lance with his art – for me a genius!
Conclusion: Æternia put an exclamation mark already with their first release. The Quest only doesn’t get the highest grade from me, because other releases this year could excite me even more. But that doesn’t change the fact that there is nothing to improve here and you can definitely look forward to the debut album of this highly talented formation from the west of Germany. Do yourselves a favour and buy this EP – it’s addictive.