AEIR - A Frith Befouled

27 Aug 2022 - Thorsten

Post-Hardcore, Crust-Punk, Sludge | Moment of Collapse Records | Release date: 05 Aug 2022

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Minnesang is a German literary term for a certain kind of medieval music with a singer accompanying himself on the lute or maybe even performing acapella. Mostly one must envision these singers composing songs about either love or some high nobility circumstances. Why am I writing this? Because to me, there is a certain parallel between Minnesang and the debut album by US/UK crust outfit AEIR. And that is not only due to the cover of the record but to several other things.

First and foremost it‘s the storytelling – because that was the most important thing for those German masters like Walther von der Vogelweide or Wolfram von Eschenbach and it is also one of the most important things for AEIR. They want to tell a certain story which they call the Palingenesis Cycle in which they talk about a Agrarian society which is in somewhat pre-determined and pre-ordained. They talk about monarchy, peasant life, the dichotomy between the two and how is dependent on the other but not vice versa. One key line is probably the end of the fourth track, “The Threshing Floor“: „Monarch, Father / nurture our ills … Retread the vales, our vestal lament/ Such omens wassail in torment / Sovereign, Sovereign / Feast on this Eucharist / Ravage our malady / This vagrant resolve / This ailing wish / This frailty / This love lost“. In some ways one might say this is another one of these parables between the modern capitalist society and regular, long-standing human needs. The upper class not caring about the working class and the latter‘s anger about not being taken care of and, even worse, not being loved and respected. In that sense, the band definitely follows a lot of great fore-bearers and even their own footsteps, as the band consists of (former) members of Basement, Light Bearer and Momentum. But please do not assume this is another outlet for Alex CF‘s everlasting strife for new musicals projects because a) he is not part of AEIR, b) it would diminish the importance of the other members of his projects and c) it would lessen their impact on projects like Light Bearer which was NOT a solo project. Thus here we have a new band who comes up with similar ideas and structures but that can stand all on their own.

Let‘s get back to exacerbate the parallels between Minnesang and AEIR‘s debut A Frith Befouled. In medieval German times (as well as in English or French contemporary courts), these singers would make use of their voice as the centerpiece of their musical arrangements, oftentimes singing without musical company. And that happens sometimes literally on these five songs, for example in the middle interlude “Curia Regis“, when the singer is left alone to perform his wonderfully melancholic lines. Or in the middle part of the final 13-minute-monster “Profaned Moira“ when the clean vocals.

In these moments the similarity to Minnesang can become as evident as possible for a modern-day song that is not trying to copy medieval songs. That the music itself is also quite important should be obvious when looking at the band members‘ (former) projects outside of AEIR. The music is a perfect blend of blackened sludge or Crust and in that sense much more like Morrow or Anopheli but Light Bearer because it is a bit more malady than melancholy. Listen to the miraculous beginning of “The Threshing Floor“ which might even be called Post-Rock for all its enchantments. However, when the crashing movements collide over the audience‘s ears this is heavy stuff, and much more anchored in the 21st century than in the 12th.

Moment of Collapse have gathered up another band of sheer unbelievable musical variety and openness to variations. AEIR might remain a well-kept secret, but man – that would really be a waste of musical treasures. A record for everyone who loves his crust-punk doomy and melodic, less angry and speedy. The storytelling on this record starts with its cover and ends with the last of these 45 ½ minutes. A record to hold close for all its musical glories and behold for its contemporary comment. AEIR, sires and madames! Minnesang for the 21st century.