Rating: 9.3/10

Sulphur Aeon open a new chapter of their Necronomicon.

Septicflesh, Nile, Nekrogoblikon, Portal, and even Black Sabbath… Just a few bands who have given a subtle nod to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Sulphur Aeon, on the other hand, do so more obviously. And repeatedly. Outside the world of Cthulhu Mythos, we refer to the gesture as “headbanging”. From 2013’s ‘Swallowed by the Ocean’s Tide’ to 2015’s ‘Gateway to the Antisphere’, Sulphur Aeon have derived inspiration from Lovecraft to the point of worship, continuing on in the latest chapter of their own Necronomicon…

In the midst of Winter Solstice (Summer Solstice if, like me, you’re in the Southern Hemisphere), Sulphur Aeon have unleashed their latest opus ‘The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos’ from the depths of nowhere, in an unexpected twist, at that time of year when we’ve all just about settled on our list of favorite records of 2018. Before you start counting them all down hear me out, or just take a good listen to this beast of an album.

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Speaking of beasts… that album artwork, though. Ola Larsson has delivered once again; after solidifying his visual representation of Cthulhu and the disembodied tendrils on ‘Swallowed by the Ocean’s Tide’ and ‘Gateway to the Antisphere’ respectively, the monster design on ‘The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos’ needs no introduction at all with its epic, organic, almost spiritual quality; it captures the mood of the album at the very first glimpse.

The apocalyptic mood gathers at the beginning of album opener Cult of Starry Wisdom like an oncoming storm, intensifying Sulphur Aeon’s trademark sound with an added twist: clean vocals! Doom and gloom fans, rejoice! The Behemoth-like death vocals are also well and truly present, and more polished that ever before. The powerful reverb in the vocals and guitars open up a new dimension without the need for any extra keys or synths.

The infectious riffs dominate tracks like Yuggothian Spell and The Oneironaut – Haunting Visions Within the Starlit Chambers of Seven Gates while the guttural bellows and monstrous screams shine on Veneration of the Lunar Orb and Lungs Into Gills, with the metamorphosis in the latter ideally allowing M.‘s vocals to also resonate underwater. Dethklok only dreamed it, Sulphur Aeon got there.

The tempo slows down in the diluvial ascension; epic 9-minute Sinister Sea Sabbath and The Summoning of Nyarlathotep flood our minds with the idea that the apocalypse doesn’t need to come with fire.

Sulphur Aeon have lifted their already active game on ‘The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos’, particularly with the lingering presence of the aforementioned crooning clean vocals that are felt right from the very beginning of the record in opening track Cult of Starry Wisdom, right to the very end of closing track Thou Shalt Not Speak His Name (The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos) with the infectious chanting, “It is He who holds the Scepter of Obliteration, He who wields the Scythe of Cosmic Chaos…”

After over three years, Sulphur Aeon have finally added a fitting new chapter to their Necronomicon, successfully maintaining the consistency they’ve dedicated to their themes of Lovecraft’s weird fiction and cosmic horror. ‘The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos’ captures this intensity and darkness with unrivaled precision.

Scythe of Cosmic Chaos will be released December 21st through Ván Records.