Anytime I see a demo from a Ukrainian black metal outfit, I think of bands like Drudkh and Khors, and tend to expect something along those lines. I find this to be a generally accurate assumption, though, of course, each band offers a unique spin on that sound. Exclusion of Non-Dominated Material by Aeternus Prophet, however, turned any preconceived notions I had about the Ukraine metal scene upside down.
Aeternus Prophet don’t really have any ambient or folk influences, don’t focus on pagan mysticism in their lyrics, and don’t play anything that can be considered “pretty” or “shoegazey.” Exclusion of Non-Dominated Material, the band’s second full-length, offers instead some pretty old-school-influenced blackened death metal, similar to Belphegor. There are some pretty flashy guitar bits on occasion, such as the speed-demon intro riff on album opener “Removed Eyes,” but Aeternus Prophet mostly stick to a more medium-paced style, emphasizing their death metal influences. “Sick Vision” is a prime example of the old-school style I’m talking about, sounding like a mix of Obituary and classic NWOBHM. Fans looking for 6-string acrobatics, though, might be a little disappointed, since Aeternus Prophet place more emphasis on heavy, old-style riffs than they do in writing super technical tunes, though there are occasionally some cool guitar solos.
The mix sounds a little flat at times, and the formula on each song is more or less the same, making the album seem to drag towards the middle. The tone is just a little too clean, and there just isn’t enough change in dynamics to differentiate song from song. Still, I did enjoy the classic-sounding metal vibe that permeates every nook and cranny of this record, which really goes a long way to making it an enjoyable listen. Though I wouldn’t exactly call Exclusion of Non-Dominated Material indispensable, it’s still worth a spin or two.