Formerly from Uruguay but now residing in New York City, Requiem Aeternam's latest release is a varied and impressive metal platter that is at times brutal as well as delicate. The lyrics to each of the CD's eight songs are based on the work of individual philosopher's, such as Gautama, Seneca, Rousseau, Heraclitus, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Tzu, plus one song based on the writings of guitarist/vocalist Jose Romero and his book "Forbidden Writings".
Each song has a decidedly different feel, which helps to take the listener on a journey that is never tiresome of cliched. "Rectitude" has moments of black/death metal, yet the marvelous bass playing of Maciej Kupiszewski injects a strong jazz fusion feel to the piece. On "Liberty", the band drops all the metal influences and opts for a very South American progressive rock sound with melodic vocals, passionate guitar work, layers of percussion, and gymnastic bass lines.
Former Immolation drummer Alex Hernandez really struts his stuff on the relentless "Logos", a wild mix of technical prog-metal and death vocals that sees the drummer's intricate and pounding stick work perfectly complement the gritty guitar style of Romero, who also moves from clean to extreme vocals quite nicely. At just over nine-minutes long, the band does a nice job of creating tension on this one, moving from pummeling metal to quiet acoustic interludes, which reminded me a bit of Opeth. On the raging "Desperation", the band goes for maniacal intensity much like The Dillinger Escape Plan, with wailing vocals, complex bass & guitar interplay, plus the shredding drum work of Hernandez. The neat acoustic middle section with Spanish narration was a nice twist as well, and a complete surprise.
Another example of lush South American acoustic prog can be heard on the gorgeous title track, as Romero's haunting vocals and deft picking are supported by the solid drum & percussion work of Hernandez. Death metal hounds will love the untitled closer, a seven-minute slab of molten guitar shards and varied vocal styles.
Philosopher is a surprisingly dense recording, with many layers to uncover that reveal themselves after multiple listens. Some may find the bands refusal to put themselves into one style a bit frustrating, but others with an open mind to different genres may really like the mix of extreme metal, prog, fusion, and South American sounds that permeate the CD.
1) Rectitude (4:10)
2) Wisdom (5:27)
3) Liberty (5:12)
4) Logos (9:14)
5) Antichrist (3:52)
6) Desperation (6:47)
7) Philosopher (4:29)
8) untitled (7:05)