AEIR are a band who take abundant pride in their storytelling. Being a UK and US based act and featuring current and ex-members of Light Bearer, Momentum, and Basement, they’ve labeled themselves as a narrative driven band. Vol I: A Frith Befouled is their first album, they seem to want to be shrouded in mystery and let the music speak for itself with influences including Neurosis, Swans, and Envy.
Beginning like a crawl, album opener Serfdom acts like a gestation for what’s ahead. The tension builds until an ominous and anxious chord comes lingering in, leaving the comfort behind. Other chords join in, and a tribal sound emerges. The percussion creates something like a broken ballet as every note feels so precise and intentional.
Delicate A Frifth Beholded comes in soothingly quiet, reminiscent to an evening spent around the safety of a campfire. When the first riff hits alongside the vocals, it takes the contained fire into an unstoppable blaze. Aggressively meandering, like a blind warrior grasping for anything to fight, the dueling vocals take center stage. Power chords cleanse the palette and epic doom swallows the song whole.
Curia Regis is an enchanted meadow woven into a sonnet. Gentle vocals wrap a somber guitar relished in light and dreamy strings. The atmosphere that, at times, feels like it could unleash hell, remains reserved and thoughtful. This build-up lacked the cathartic payoff I was expecting but repeated listens completely demolish that disappointment and I can appreciate the beauty dripping from every second.
Each instrument has the power of a canon blasting the listener against a wall repeatedly…
The Threshing Floor continues the tone but begins even lighter. Each section can easily be imagined gliding atop a body of water with the grace of a swan. An ethereal state is achieved, and a warmth cradles the vocals that are shrieked, but still feel natural. A shift change comes in matching the vocals and our meadow is replaced by rampage. The amount of time AEIR has devoted to meticulously tuning their instruments is impossible to not be in awe of.
Profamed Moira is a densely layered affair that fits nicely as the album’s closer. Each instrument has the power of a canon blasting the listener against a wall repeatedly. The vocals are delivered in a breathless and dry fashion, clashing against the foggy chords as the pressure builds. Echoes form and collapse. So much straining bursts the song at its seams until another shift change comes in and the mood changes to harmony. Seeing a light on the horizon and injecting true hope into something so bleak.
The music is a fun jam. But the story is AEIR’s pride as I mentioned previously. And they really do shine in this regard. I won’t spoil it because it really isn’t my intent, but know that it will add another dimension to the whole experience.
Scribed by: Richard Murray