There’s just a certain joy about new projects, aren’t there? They all possess a certain sense of combinative anticipation and mystery that makes them compelling. The beginning of a new project, especially when the members of said musical enterprise have established themselves under other names, is an endless spring of contemplation and speculation that only ends when the result graces us with its presence.
So, after months of closely guarded underground rumblings, we now see the first couple teaser tracks from Ages, the death metal supergroup born in the underground of Montreal out of pieces of Blackguard and Ion Dissonance. Paul Ablaze and Xavier St. Laurent have set out to see where a straight drive down the winding road of death metal can take them. For Blackguard fans, this isn’t a strict departure from what you’re used to, but it is a bit of a paradigm shift.
There’s a lot going on in these two cuts, “Resounding Negation” and “Heinous Nemesis.” The sound of both is deep and finely textured, with multiple layers of dense death madness hammered into sheet on top of one another. St. Laurent can bring it on his six-string, as each cut offers his idiomatic take on lead guitar and the kind of harmonies it should represent. These selections, juxtaposed against the rasping scowl of Ablaze and guest vocalists Mark Jansen and Esben Hansen are the centerpiece of the two cuts we’ve seen so far.
What impresses most at first blush about this burgeoning project is that the vocals are mixed appropriately and do not descend idly into the slamming and banging of the rhythm section beneath. It is worth mentioning though, that the rhythm section will be a curious watch when more tracks emerge. They fill their part on these two teasers, but that’s really all they do – some virtuosity or personality on their part would be welcome, indeed.
As we said at the top, there’s a lot here, considering we’ve only heard two cuts. It remains to be seen whether Ages can vary their sound enough in tempo and color to craft an entire album of unique experiences, but as with all new projects, that’s going to be wonderful speculation until we see the end result. There’s a lot of potential here.