Carrion Vael, Aethereus, and Void Eater bring melodic death, breakdowns to Boggs

Written by Scott Belzer | September 5th, 2023

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic—perhaps a little bit before then—a growing sense of anger, rage, and flat-out vitriol grew in the hearts and minds of people worldwide. Some people hunkered down. Some people protested. A few viral videos went around (you know the ones). A select group of people, however, used the time to produce some of the best death metal we’ve seen in decades, ushering in a new golden era for the genre.

Carrion Vael is one of those bands. The Richmond, Illinois quintet’s 2022 full-length, Abhorrent Obsessions, turned plenty of heads and made plenty of album of the year lists last year—and with good reason. It hoists the tech-but-melodic death metal torch lit by such bands as Black Dahlia Murder and Inferi high into the air, beckoning all to come revel in blast beats (so many blast beats!), ever-changing guitar flows and vocals that alternate between screeching highs and hellish lows.

The secret to Carrion Vael’s brand of brutality is its cohesion. Technical bands run the risk of sounding like noise to non-musicians and casual listeners. Melodic bands run the risk of not being “brutal enough” for heads craving riffs and opportunities to headbang. Carrion Vael takes the bombastic breakdowns, shredding guitar, and tricky time signatures from tech-death and seems to effortlessly blend them with the orchestration found in more melodic fare. You can tap into the onslaught of melodies (ever-changing though they may be) without the music being a slap to the face. Each verse and bridge transitions into one another without being too jarring, letting listeners feast on each section’s beautiful complexity and craftsmanship. Can I call metal beautiful? I’m calling it beautiful.

To go along with these finely tuned tunes are lyrics that match the tumultuousness of the last few years. On “Disturbia,” the quintet describes how first-world society has been the cause of its own demise. On Abhorrent Obsessions’ closer, The Paint Shop,” the narrator describes a never-ending rage that ends with his execution. All songs incorporate Carrion Vael’s own blend of blasphemy, with dashes of clean vocals, screeching solos, and even some piano, just for kicks. Throughout the onslaught, the flagships of what make this genre great (virtuostic lead and rhythm guitar, pummeling bass and drums, punishing vocals) are all there to keep the storm raging. And did I mention riffs? All the riffs.

Carrion Vael will be bringing the storm to Boggs Social & Supply on September 14 with Aethereus and Void Eater.

Tacoma’s Aethereus offers a similar blend of melodic death metal, providing listeners with a diverse platter of riffs, pedal-driven effects and time signatures. I’d say Aethereus is every bit as technical and brutal as Carrion Vael, but minus a few beats per minute (complimentary). Where their tourmates are a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shotgun blast of every aspect of the genre, Aethereus lets you vibe slightly longer in their music’s ethereal atmosphere. On Leiden, the band’s sophomore 2022 full-length, Aethereus lures you into each song with slow builds before hitting you with mile-high peaks. While there, you’ll rage and appreciate the smorgasbord of complexity… but only before they guide you out with equally alluring outros. Before you know it, the next song is on, and you’re treated yet again.

Atlanta’s Void Eater will be spin kicking things off with a bang, slinging some filthy Peach State deathcore into everyone’s eager faces. If it’s punishing breakdowns, haunting atmosphere and good ol’ fashioned moshcore you crave, Void Eater should be right up your alley. It’s fun. It’s frill-free. It’s straightforward (and in your FACE.. to eat!). Come help them blow the doors off Boggs and set the mood.

-Scott Belzer