Memento Mori

Aephanemer are a melodic death metal band from France formed in 2013 by Martin Hamiche, initially as a one man band, releasing the 'Know Thyself' E.P. in 2014. Now a four piece band, their debut album was released in 2016.    
The band describe themselves as a melodic death metal band, (aka the melodeath genre), and take influences from bands such as Children Of Bodom, Dark Tranquillity and Wintersun although 'Memento Mori' (the album) comes across more as a heavy power metal album with vocals that span the death and black metal genres. The atmospheric intro to opening song 'Unstoppable' would not be out of place on a symphonic metal bands album. With a catchy rhythm and a lighter feel than you would expect from the melodeath genre, the growled, deep throated vocals accompany the music, leaving the music as the main attraction. 'Sisyphus' Bliss' picks up the pace, tempo and intensity with the keyboards a major part of the sound. The vocals rasp more than they growl, leaving 'Sisyphus' Bliss' to run amok in the speed/power metal genre. I don't favour either the death or the black metal genres, but this album has got me hooked, more to the music than the vocals, but hooked nonetheless.    
Keeping the tempo high, the album speeds on with 'Hellebore' giving ample opportunity for head banging. The music takes on a mildly more aggressive vibe, with the vocals, even though they growl and rasp, are actually quite easy to listen to and understand. Epic metal is normally the breed of metal from Scandinavia, but Aephanemer have taken that genre on board and deliver 'The Oathsworn' in a swarm of melodic melodies and a very strong guitar lead. Taking influence from the traditional sound of heavy metal, 'Rage And Forgiveness' has buzzing guitars and galloping rhythms, the kind of music associated with British stalwarts Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. You could easily change the vocalist to a clean singer and 'Rage And Forgiveness' would instantly jump into the heavy metal genre.    
'The Call Of The Wild' heavys things up a bit and bustles on its way, sounding more power metal than either death, black or melodeath. Indeed, as the album has progressed, the vocals appear to have lost a little of the growl and rasp from earlier. What stands out the most throughout the album is the amount of guitar work, almost as though every song has been built around it. Not too much of a surprise really, as the guitarist and founding member Martin Hamiche did start this band as a one man project. Mellow and soulful, 'Crows' glides in on the back of a keyboards led intro, to then be swathed in buzzing guitars and a pulsating rhythm. Mid tempo and chugging, 'Crows' rumbles on to its conclusion. The title song 'Memento Mori', is an energetic and up tempo romp with probably the cleanest vocal delivery on the album. With definitely both feet stomping in the power/speed metal genres, 'Memento Mori' also includes "proper" clean vocals too, which I have to admit, really sound out of place and awkward... The album is brought to a close with the seven minutes plus instrumental 'Gilgamesh', a swaggering and swaying blend of influences that will take the listener on a journey through many metal genres.    
Overall, an intriguing and interesting album, blending influences from the death, black, symphonic and power metal genres.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed For Primeval Records