Wednesday 17 May 2017

RIFF REWIND (17/5/2012): ÆGES - 'The Bridge'

ÆGES (pronounced “ages”), ambitious rock n’ roll soundscapes and melodies the size of mountains are the electrifying result of four men from diverse musical backgrounds united by their shared love of loud guitars, big drums and catchy songs. Since joining forces in Downtown Los Angeles, guitarists/vocalists Kemble Walters and Cory Clark, drummer Mike Land and bassist Tony Baumeister have concocted a thrilling sound that’s both nostalgic and forward thinking.

ÆGES has made the improbable marriage of massive extremes their hallmark, steering beyond the simple combination of sonic crunch and melodic hooks into a hypnotizing and enchanting lane occupied by pioneering acts like Queens Of The Stone Age and Soundgarden.

Their debut album “The Bridge” (2012) was a guitar driven affair whose singular focus gave way to the even bigger sonic tapestry found on “Above & Down Below” (2014) (review here), cementing ÆGES as four players with distinctive strengths that combine to make something virtually unrivaled today, as clearly evidenced by every single song on their latest release” Weightless” (review here)  Today, however we cast our minds back to their 2012 debut, which I proclaimed was a ‘truly brilliant record’.  So let us rewind the riffs to  this day 5 years ago and 17/5/ 2012.  Check out the brilliant ÆGES.

Source: Another Century here

"The Bridge" By: Aaron Pickford

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/04/2012
Label: The Mylene Sheath

‘What makes ‘The Bridge’ so great and so different is that ÆGES have produced an album unlike anything else out there and as a result this should be applauded.  ‘The Bridge’ is a truly brilliant record’

'The Bridge' CD/DD/LP track listing:

1. Wrong (4:00)
2. My Medicine (2:36)
3. Southern Comfort (5:03)
4. Doesn’t Feel The Same (2:48)
5. Sent From Heaven (Rest In Dirt) (4:18)
6. The Bridge (5:45)
7. Roaches (3:07)
8. The Words We Say (3:57)
9. I Believe In Ghosts (2:17)
10. Fade Out (5:18)

The Review: 

Hailed in some quarters as a ‘Super Group’ of sorts, ÆGES are a breath of fresh in the genre of heavy music, in so much as they remain startlingly heavy whilst retaining a strong element of melody and a tantalising blend of screamed/clean vocals.  The most obvious comparison I could draw upon to describe their music would be ‘Antenna’ era Cave In, indeed Kemble Walters’ vocals reminds me a lot of Stephen Brodsky from the aforementioned band.

So what is on offer with ‘The Bridge’ and why should readers part with their hard earned cash?  Basically ÆGES have produced some of catchiest songs I have ever heard and incorporate the best of elements of metal, e.g. ‘Nasty Riffs’ alongside a staggering vocal performance courtesy of Kemble Walters.  The album is jam packed full of hooky, tantalising Helmet esque riffs, with a hint of that trademark Henry Bogdan bassline.  The twin guitar delivery on opening track ‘Wrong’, is juxtaposed with intricacy and simplicity, with ample amounts of cool phrasing, supported admirably by a solid rhythm section.  The riffs are to die for and at the centre of it, with breathtakingly raw and pure vocal performance. If only medicine could taste as good as this record sounds and the track ‘My Medicine’ chips in with some wonderously floaty guitar fills, bass heavy riffs with hybrid of tonality somewhere between KoRn and Kyuss, with added desert rock spice.  Again the song is just plain catchy, leaving the listener captivated and mystified as a result of spontaneously bursting into song.  This is a big plus point for the album, in that you feel yourself being compelled to sing, seemingly unconsciously and spasmodically. 

The songs just get better and better, one memorable song after another, Southern Comfort’ with its acoustic intro, then into another banger of a riff, the simplicity of which are another source of the albums strength. Bucket loads of thick dirgy riffs and incorporating layers of guitar fills to add variety and texture, keeping the listener engrossed as a result.  Doesn’t Feel The Same’, turns on the 90’s alt metal style, with bursts of influence from Helmet or say Handsome, coupled with aggression, punchy drums and that Henry Bogdan bass tone.  The track is just mouth watering, with a raw groove aesthetic, which is beguiling and mesmeric.  Indeed it’s a track that could been written by Page Hamilton himself. The record is just loaded and brimming with riffs that leave you beaming from ear to ear. 

‘Sent From Heaven (Rest In Dirt)’ has a very sludgy vibe, with a post metal esque opening riff and the vocals on this track are majestic, with a nod to Cave In sdding further dynamics to the record with thrashy galloped riffs at times.  The fuzzy production creates a massive “wall of sound” which only serves to strengthen the tone of the sludgy guitars and the drum work.  The Bridge’ is an assault on the senses, due to the battery of the drums and the layers of riffs that reminded me of the band Zozobra. The track is a big tune, with a strong traditional vibe to it with an amazing hooky chorus and slight variations on the same riffs, which are driving and crunchy.  Kemble Walters is on fire at this point and gives the track his strongest vocal performance, with an almost falsetto type vocal at times.  Roaches’ with its Big Black esque intro is just plain aggressive and bombastic, incorporating the use of background vocals to accentuate the song.  It is the most straight forward track and most aggressive on offer.  Added to the track are hints of distorted bass and a strong bouncy groove. 

The final 3 tracks on the album continue the general tone of the album and each one could easily be big singles for the record and should rightly propel this album into becoming ‘The Feel Good Metal Album Of The Summer.’  What makes The Bridge’ so great and so different is that ÆGES have produced an album unlike anything else out there and as a result this should be applauded.  ‘The Bridge’ is a truly brilliant record

Band info: Bandcamp |Facebook