Aara – Triade III: Nyx Album Review
Album: Triade III: Nyx
Release Date: 31 March 2023
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal/Melodic Black Metal
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Fluss – Vocals/Lyrics
Berg – Guitars/Bass/Composition
Nyx. This is the name that was given and belongs to the ancient Greek goddess of darkness who is the
embodiment of the night itself. While the title of this album is indeed aptly named to signify the end of
Aara’s three year long concept album trilogy based on the 1820 gothic novel “Melmoth The Wanderer” by
Charles Maturin, it would be a far cry to say that this word implies that it is the twilight of the band’s
creative capabilities. If anything, despite releasing an album every year since their formation in 2019,
Aara are only just getting started and if this record is any indication of anything, they show no signs of
slowing down anytime soon and they have only furtger solidified their status as one of the greatest new
generation black metal bands of all time in my mind.
While we unfortunately did not have the opportunity to review the second album in the trilogy last year,
simply titled Triade II: Hemera, Nyx is most certainly not only a step up from the previous record, but, is
the culmination of everything the band have done with their music so far whether it’s in terms of
production, songwriting, performance, all these things come together to create a truly wonderful album
that not only is fitting for the final part of the tale of Melmoth The Wanderer, but, is the ultimate
experience in understanding what this band is all about and what sets them apart from every other black
metal band out there today.
Now, admittedly, as much as I am praising this record, I still do not feel that I enjoyed it quite nearly as
much as Triade I which on a personal level I will argue is the best album the band have ever put out.
However, in context of the entire trilogy, Nyx feels like the perfect blend between the more atmospheric,
serene, and melancholic lo-fi soundscape of Eos and the chaotic, haunting, heavy, and more aggressive
elements of Hemera’s songwriting and production. Simply put, Aara not only used this trilogy as a means
to take a rather obscure work of 19th century gothic horror literature and bring it to life through their
music, but, they used this as an opportunity to play around and experiment with their sound while still
having it match the feel and tone of each segment of the story of the novel in question.
If Eos was the album to set up the mystery and ominous supernatural atmosphere of the story through
the use of a lo-fi production style painted with sprinkles of subdued and eerie synth melodies, then
Hemera served as the album to highlight the intensity of the main plot which involves the likes of the
Spanish Inquisition, the occult, and Melmoth’s quest to find another person willing to sell their soul so
that he can gain another 150 years of life in accordance with his pact with the Devil by utilizing a more
heavy, high quality production style while incorporating some elements of blackened death metal to add
to the heightened stakes of the story. Nyx covers the final third of the story which as vocalist and lyricist
Fluss puts it: “‘Nyx’ stands for the end, and darkness… with the stories of the protagonists coming to a
conclusion. Melmoth’s lover ends up in the dungeons of the Inquisition and dies of her grief after the
death of the child conceived with Melmoth. But despite all the suffering of the people, Melmoth cannot
convince anyone to share the lot of immortality for his soul, and so his time runs out and his existence on
earth must end”.
In order to highlight the end to this tragic, supernatural tale Aara decide to take the a lot of the lo-fi
elements of their iconic sound from Eos as the foundation for the sound of this new album and throw in a
healthy but subtle helping of some of the more heavy and chaotic blackened death metal elements from
Hemera to give the listener the feeling that they have truly experienced a consistent story told in a
musical format without feeling jarred or like they are being pulled into different directions without warning.
The songwriting on this record still sticks with much of Aara’s usual Baroque and Romantic era of
classical music inspired melodies and riffs accompanied by the usual brand of black metal blast beats
and Fluss’ iconic style of shrieking vocals. However, the more blackened death metal inspired backing
riffs and bass lines, which are present on past releases here and there, give the music this almost
rumbling effect which allows the songs to feel like they are having these moments of absolute chaos and
raw aggression that contrast nicelely with the more beautiful and bright sounding tremolo picking riffs and
ethereal synth samples of the tracks on the second half of the album. While these rumbling bass lines
and heavy backing riffs have always been present on albums like En Ergô Einai and Eos, having them
appear more frequently in the tracklist of Nyx while actually giving them the heavier tone from Hemera
proves that even when Aara take the risk that they did with the previous, they still unmistakably sound
like the same band and prove they are capable of experimenting and evolving over time without
alienating their audience which is not something most bands are capable of doing. Also it’s not just the
guitar work. While Aara’s drum tone has always had the lo-fi, spacious sound found in most black metal,
with Hemera, the drums almost had the same overpowering loudness and heaviness of the drum mixing
on Septicflesh’s 2008 album, Communion, which might not be for everyone depending on who you ask.
However, with Nyx, Aara bring the drums a little bit back into the mix while still giving it some beef so that
it still retains some of the more pronounced characteristics from the Hemera album while still being able
to blend in with their usual style of atmospheric melodies.
The final elements about this record I want to talk about is the keyboard/synth work and Fluss vocal
performance. If you have read my review of Triade I: Eos, you will know that the main element that this
band deserves praise for is the fact that unlike most modern bands who bring the keyboards and other
electronic elements up in the mix to compete with the drums, guitars, and vocals, Aara choose instead to
go for more subtle and subuded samples mixed and programmed in a way that makes it actually feel like
you are hearing thigns like a church choir coming from a church from the outside as though you were
really walking past in in a cobbled street somewhere in pre-Industrial Revolution era Europe. Aara like to
treat their keyboards samples almost like ambient ASMR experiences which on a good set of
headphones, earphones, or speakers enhance the “chorus” moments of their songs and give their music
an extra layer of otherworldliness that only adds an extra layer of depth to the soundscape and the
overall listening experience. However, with this record, while the synths are still subtle and sudued, the
choirs and other ASMR elements create now feel almost clearer, louder as if signifying the fact that
Melmoth can now hear the sounds of the supernatural and the afterlife calling to him as he tries to enjoy
his last few moments on the earth. This to me is a genius method of utlilizing a purely audible form of
entertainment to paint a mental picture of what is going on with the story of the novel and I am honestly
surprised that nobody has ever contacted this band and asked them to actually write and compose an
album for an indie video game, anime, or some other kind of big budget tv series.
Lastly, when it comes to Fluss’ vocals, while they are still mixed in the same manner by having them
brought more to the back in order to give that ‘icy wind’ styled sound effect, Fluss’ technique has defnitely
improved a lot and you can really feel the range of emotions she puts in with each note as she narrates
the events of the story albeit in her native home language as opposed to the original English text of the
novel. While some people might want more range beyond just high, shrieking vocals, Aara is one of
those bands who knows how to write good music that actually compliments the range of a vocalist not
matter how limited or broad that range might be and I think even the most die hard Will Ramos fan will
find something to appreciate with Fluss’ style of vocal delivery.
Simply put, Triade III: Nyx by Aara is an album that excels in everything it set out to do. It managed to
help solidify Aara’s sound as one of not only consistency, but, proves that they can now be heavy while
stil delivering that same brand of Baroque and Romantic inspired atmosphere and bring literary works to
life in audible form through clever songwriting and astoundingly hypnotic and transfixing soundscapes.
Go and listen to Triade III: Nyx now!
Reviewed By: Russell Gainsford