Oberon – Aeon Chaser

Rating: 2.0/5
Distributor/Label: Prophecy Productions
Released: 2018
Buy Album: https://en.prophecy.de/prophecy/oberon-aeon-chaser.html
Band Website: https://oberon-no.bandcamp.com/

Band lineup:

Bard Oberon
Tory J. Raugstad
Jan Petter Skretting
James F

Tracklisting:

1. Omega
2. Walk in Twilight
3. To Live to Die
4. Black Aura
5. The Secret Fire
6. Worlds Apart
7. Laniakea
8. Surrender
9. Lost Souls
10. Brother of the Order
11. Magus of the Dunes

Review:

Oberon have returned with only their second album of the 21st century. Four years on from ‘Dream Awakening’, the ‘bard Oberon’ has tried a different tact on this occasion, bringing in a fully assorted and functioning band to the studio for the first time since the band’s inception in 1994. 24 years and the time must have seemed right as the door was now open for other creative forces to play their part in creating music in Oberon’s style.

And what is Oberon’s style? Pegged as ‘gnostic rock’, there are some 70s-80s prog elements within and some instances of post-rock adding texture and elemental feel to the music. ‘Aeon Chaser’, in a lot of ways, takes off from their last effort but with a definite upgrade in tone for the guitars as the reverb gets a good use when Oberon want to put in some harder sections. This apparent from the start of the album with the first two tracks ‘Omega’ and ‘Walk In Twilight’ bringing some nice guitar passages, sounding like 80s power rock ballads.

The ballads of ‘bard Oberon’ can surprise one like in ‘To Live Is To Die’ which starts off as corny and watered down as you could possibly stomach, soft and atmospheric touching on the subject of ‘True Love’ before breaking into darker and heavier realms of music. The synths and other electronic elements work to add more and more layers whilst modernising the edges of the music. ‘Black Aura’ uses this for darker purposes whereas ‘Lost Souls’ adds more backing to the softer melodies, strengthening the pull of the music. There’s programmed drumming too but mostly it’s used for more analogous means rather than digital, albeit sometimes coming off a bit clacky and lacklustre when used in songs like ‘Brother Of The Order’.

All in all there’s a lot to like but there’s lots to balk at and sometimes it’s hard to listen to some of the music. The arrangements are normally palatable and there’s some great music in ‘Aeon Chaser’ but the subject matter, lyrics and vocals of ‘the Bard Oberon’ just doesn’t serve the music well. I’m not a fan of the bard’s vocals as his range is a bit lacking and doesn’t meet the standards set by the instruments. There are some great concepts in there but it is a bit of a chore to get in there and appreciate them. I do prefer this album over the previous effort but I have not been swayed enough to dedicate more time to this outfit. The bard has flopped and this is not one I’ll be chasing through the aeons.

Review By Pete Mutant
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