Have you ever wondered what a mixture of Angelo Badalamentiís cinematic soundscapes, Ennio Morricone existential western soundtracks and various black metal influences would sound like when mixed together? It sounds just as grand as one can imagine.

Aquilus dwells in dream logic. In the blink of an eye you get dragged from clouds on high to the burning pits. The themes change drastically, but with a clear purpose. Everything happens for a reason. Feather light piano solos suddenly turn eerie and start drifting to the rough guitar riffing and mind violating growls. Part of the magic is a clean production and professional mix.

The most amazing part about this album is that it is indeed a one man show. Horace Rosenqvist plays every instrument on the album and also takes care of the singing, a massive job for anyone, but Rosenqvist shines. He knows what he is doing and how to do it. Aquilus manages to sound both heavy and mellow at the same time. His growls are sinister, but the overall sound of the record is cinematic and clear, even light at most times.

The arrangements are diverse and the tracks long, almost progressive in nature. The whole album clocks closer to 80 minutes, but never gets boring or repetitive. Aquilus does not simply use orchestral arrangements as an element, but truly utilizes the full scale of symphonic extravaganza. Long orchestral sequences bind the record together, giving it its trade mark sound and the black metal elements offer contrast to the whole, keeping the listener on his toes throughout the experience. You never really know when Aquilus will fill the clear blue skies with gory black clouds.

Itís extremely hard to find anything negative to say about this album. Editing or shortening the album would probably just make the experience less intensive and there lies the beauty of it all. You really have to let go and concentrate on this epic piece. Itís a task to lift up a certain track, because this album is a whole and should be devoured in one listening. It must also be added that this music is definitely not for everyone. The drastic mood changes and massive tracks really demand a lot of the listener. The price is sweet for those who give a chance to this magnum opus.

Griseus is a strong opener as full length for the band. I sincerely hope Aquilus will manage to get some backup for its next endeavors from a record company, because everyone interested in epic black metal really needs to hear this band. Though, now it is available on services like Bandcamp for a very small compensation. Free bits are also available all over the web. Look it up. Enjoy. Buy! Hail Aquilus, this one is bound for greatness.

9Ĺ / 10