Review : SON OF AURELIUS – "The Farthest Reaches"

Son of AureliusThe Farthest Reaches
released April 13, 2010 on Good Fight Music

Rating: 2/5

Son of Aurelius is one of those bands that receives an Olympian mountain of promise and delivers a Vesuvian level of disaster. They are presumably named after Commodus––the only one of nine sons by Marcus Aurelius to survive their father. I wonder why the Santa Cruz quintet would name themselves after this vain, arrogant bastard, known for his cruel treatment toward people and animals, fixed gladiatorial battles, and moody, illogical behavior.

Some of these adjectives are characteristic of the music itself, though I cannot say for certain if this is intentional. Musically, they follow a path laid out by The Black Dahlia Murder, melodic thrash their reliable anchor. But they grasp for Obscura and invoke Necophagist from time to time, when the need for technical death metal arises. Some of my favorite moments were the vibrant guitar solos, like those in “Pandora’s Burden”, which also displays distant vocals, greater bass presence, and a variety of tempo shifts through the outro. That song is one of the few times on The Farthest Reaches where we hear something besides growls and rasps. There is nothing inherently wrong with that style, but vocalist Josh Miller’s execution is indistinguishable.

There does not need to be instrumental tracks like “The Calm”, where the band gives us a break from/buildup to the brutality. What works is when they implement these dynamics within the songs, particularly on “Facing the Gorgon”. But this is one area where they confuse as well: much of their lyrics reference Greek––not Roman––mythology, which seems misguided.

Son of Aurelius could go on to do great things, but just like their namesake, who was the first emperor “born to the purple”, they lack the focus of their forebears.

FCC: 2, 7
Try: 1, 5, 6, 8

01. Mercy for Today
02. Let Them Hate and Fear
03. The Farthest Reaches
04. Olympus is Forgotten
05. Facing the Gorgon
06. Pandora’s Burden
07. A Champion Reborn
08. Myocardial Infarction
09. The Calm
10. A Good Death
11. The First, The Serpent

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