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In Aevum Agere - "The Shadow Tower" (CD)

In Aevum Agere - "The Shadow Tower" CD cover image

"The Shadow Tower" track listing:

1. Umbra Vitae (0:48)
2. The Shadow Tower (4:28)
3. Leave Me Alone (Sinite Me Solum) (5:21)
4. Iniquitous Judgement (5:42)
5. The Last Farewell (5:24)
6. Act Of Faith (4:40)
7. Domino (6:34)
8. Silent (3:41)
9. Il Poema Illusorio (6:18)
10. Ire Of Solitude (5:18)
11. Son Of Unknown (5:46)

Reviewed by on January 13, 2013

"It is almost ironic that at this the same time last year I was glorifying the final studio album of one of the world’s finest doom bands and now I am impacted nearly the same with 'The Shadow Tower.'"

In the age of consistent bastardization through genre labels, those subjective forms of stigmas placed on bands these days (present company guilty), I find it incomprehensible to do so without identifying a band or bands to further explain a sound. No matter what form of metal – core to bore – it’s all music. The rest is in the mind of the writers, critics, and fans. If I were to force the use one of my own labels with no explanation, surely tagging a band “symphonic/gothic/power metal” could conjure up 10 different bands from 10 different people. However, these “personal file categories” are used at an alarming rate by many as a lazy way to “describe sound.” The end result is the band’s target audience passing over an album with nary a listen. So, why bring this up in a review for In Aevum Agere? Two words: “Country: Italy.” Apparently, to many this is synonymous with “power metal.” Granted, there are elements of pure power throughout the debut release “The Shadow Tower,” but this album is overwhelmingly epic doom…and a masterpiece of doom it is.

Epic doom metal and its stoner cousins can both find roots buried deeply within Black Sabbath. However, it was Candlemass that perfected epic doom taking the reins in a slightly different direction than NWoBHM legends Witchfinder General and U.S. doom veterans Pentagram. Though there are a plethora of epic doom metal bands, few get it right to the degree that In Aevum Agere have, and even fewer on a debut album.

Born in 2005, In Aevum Agere is the brainchild of master musician and vocalist Bruno Masuli (Annihilationmancer/Loadstar/Power Beyond), who has the knack of invoking the sacred strums of Johansson/Björkman (Candlemass) and Tony Iommi, while capturing the essence of the soothing vocals of Robert Lowe (Candlemass). Masuli may be a better guitarist than singer, but his vocals are as smooth as steel and 100% befitting the style. The long road to this debut is proof of what patience and practice can accomplish. The production is pristine for the doom sound, a slight dungeonesque feel is the ideal atmosphere. Masuli’s guitar counterpart, Marco Ruggiero (Saviour From Anger) provides the amazing solos.

Throughout “The Shadow Tower,” there are acts of pure resplendence all stemming from a pandemic of glorious riffs. There are moments, most notably on “Iniquitous Judgement,” “Il Poema Illusorio,” and “Son of Unknown,” where I get the same feel as when Candlemass would suddenly drag its immense carcass of knuckle dragging riffs to a pace that was a notch above slow. Back then, mid-pace felt like speed metal. In Aevum Agere have a much swifter and deadly pace and its speediest sections are like the savored sharpened daggers of gore in a horror fan’s dream. It’s difficult to pinpoint a favorite, but “Act of Faith” is an early pick.

It is almost ironic that at this same time last year I was glorifying the final studio album of one of the world’s finest doom bands and now I am impacted nearly the same with “The Shadow Tower.” In many ways, In Aevum Agere may have exceeded “Pslams of the Dead,” especially for fans that like doom played at 78rpm. With any luck, this review will have put a more honest viewpoint of the sound at the feet of prospective fans. Genre tagging rant aside, what In Aevum Agere has done is masterful.

Highs: Epic doom the way the devil intended.

Lows: Fans equating Italy to symphonic power metal will find no solace.

Bottom line: In Aevum Agere comes out of the "shadows" to claim the "tower" of doom!

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)