Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
With the arrival of 2020 just a little over a month ago, the Italian, traditional doom crew BRETUS began the band’s official 20th anniversary.
What better way to commemorate this most admirable milestone, than with the release of a new, full-length album of music? (That was rhetorical.) At the end of September 2019, BRETUS – Ghenes (guitar), Zagarus (vocals), Janos (bass), and Striges (drums) – rendered the nine-track ‘Aion Tetra‘ to the masses of our shared planet. Though the band’s fourth record overall, it is the quartet’s first for their new label home, Ordo McM Records.
It goes without saying, but here it is: Riff Relevant is no stranger to BRETUS, having reviewed previous offering, ‘…From The Twilight Zone‘ [HERE] in 2017. Personally, I have an even longer familiarity with the band, coming to an awareness of them by means of their 2015 outing, ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth‘. Prior to it, the first album to make their presence known, outside of an MCD and a single, was the introductory ‘In Onirica‘ back in 2012.
With the past of BRETUS covered, let us dive headlong into the “hear” and now, the latest in excessively weighty wonderment from this quartet. Our dive will not begin with a rapid free-fall, instead, an eerie wind summons forth the stoner doom of “The Third Mystic Eye“. This otherworldly witness bears in testament to those of an influential nature, with portents of Candlemass or Solitude Aeturnus.
Moderately it moves along its determinate path, following a course hewn of rutty grooves, despite a rather loose feel to the song. Let’s be honest though, if you are already acquainted with BRETUS, then you know they are masters at blending diverse elements into their compositions. Here listeners get it all in spades, effective ones yielding maximum results.
There is proto-metallic-tinged traditional doom in such songs as “Priests Of Chaos” (see the new video below), “Prisoner Of The Night“, and “Mark Of Evil“. Each has a sinister crunch, within their depths are found resounding riffs, calamitous rhythms, and oft-times woeful vocals. At points along the way, the fatalist four indulge their psychedelic sides with profound interludes crafted with an otherworldly presence to them.
The title piece “Aion Tetra“, along with “Fields Of Mars“, are both quite brief, but the latter of the two packs a wallop. Yes, while “Fields Of Mars” barely breaks the two-minute running time mark, those two minutes will leave you scarred. A thinly scattered, fuzz thickened, repetitive guitar, and wafting organs lull you into a trance. Along with this are the lysergically laced layers of vocals, inviting you in, while wiping your mind clean.
Don’t get too comfortable though, because these Italian doom-mongers have one last location to take us, the destination that is “City Of Frost“. The track provides an epic high to eventually close the album, but not before its chunky riffs and steadily driven pace make their impressions. There’s a comparison that comes to mind each time I’ve heard this track, one inspired at other times, as well. Perhaps it will assist in giving you a better grasp of what to expect, yet only in limited portions: early Danzig-meets-Cathedral.
Make of that what you will and take the time to properly explore the latest opus from BRETUS, ‘Aion Tetra‘. It is a journey well worth undertaking, across winding musical terrains, some tranquil, others dismaying. Yet, as a whole, we partake of a near-perfect example of what state contemporary doom metal exists in… and it is this one right here, streaming in this review or found at Bandcamp [HERE].