Aera – The Craving Within

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/Label: De Tenebrarum Principio
Released: 2019
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Band lineup:

Ulf Kveldulfsson – All instruments, songwriting
Stein Akslen – Vocals


1. Skaldens Død
2. Frost Within
3. Rite Of Odin
4. Profetien
5. Join Me Tomorrow
6. Norrøn Magi


Aera have returned with their debut full release, two years after their first EP ‘Of Forsworn Vows’ introduced the band on the scene. The project, masterminded by Ulf Kveldulfsson (Deveneror, Er Murazor, Forefather), has recruited vocalist Stein Akslen (Blodsgard, Minneriket, Vakslen) to complete the lineup with Ulf once again taking on the full responsibility for the instrumental arrangements of the music. So we have a similar set up as before but a new vocalist taking the reins so how has Aera progressed?

‘Of Forsworn Vows’ was raw and aggressive with some melodic parts and plenty of symphonic elements and we really have a continuation of that with ‘The Craving Within’. For me, with lots of the symphonic black metal out there, the symphonic parts can be a bit overzealous and you lose a large part of that bare knuckle bite that makes the second wave styled music so gravitating. However, Aera keep the levels balanced adequately so that the teeth are still bared whilst gaining a more fuller accompaniment. It’s not all fires and forrest though and some parts do lag a bit like the keys on ‘Frost Within’ and ‘Rite Of Odin’. Whilst they have nice progressions, they have a pretty awful tone and their effectiveness suffers due to this.

It’s a fairly guitar-centric album and style that Aera have went for, and rightly so as this is where we get that raw aggression that tears at your being and drags you into their icy depths. Aera immediately implement this from the start where ‘Skaldens Død’ blasts out like frozen wind and the guitar parts strum violently throughout. There are also very catchy hooks to a lot of the riffs and song structures that the band utilises, especially with the chants of ‘Profetien’ and the progression of ‘Norrøn Magi’ works rather well.

This is something that Ulf seems to have nailed down as this was apparent throughout the band’s first release. It really works for the band and is a key driver to the music that the band set forth. I also quite like Stein Akslen’s vocals which crawl out with a gravelly rasp, duly complimenting the ferocity of some of the arrangements that drives our lust for these cravings within. Aera have a really strong album on their hands here. It’s not perfect, and can be a bit of a let down at points, but overall we have a dark and alluring piece of music which serves as a solid first full length album. Let’s see if ‘The Craving Within’ becomes our addiction throughout.

Review By Pete Mutant