Those familiar with Wolvserpent will know that this collection of musicians has spawned a number of side-projects over the years. Aelter, a solo effort forged by Blake Green, happens to be one of them. Based out of Boise, Idaho, the entity unleashed its first full-length, Aelter I, back in 2009. Each release that followed was numbered accordingly, one per year for the next two years. After 2011, the project went silent, biding its time until 2015 to unleash the long overdue follow-up, Aelter IV: Love Eternal, which is being handled through Peasenta Urfolk Records. But does this dark and atmospheric concept still translate well after a near three year gap, or does it wind up a far less impressive step backwards?

Aelter has always tried to blur the lines when it comes to the style of music it releases, ranging from Darkwave to Funeral Doom Metal, even into Johnny Cash grade Folk music. The slower paced compositions on this effort are met with varying atmospheres as well. For the most part, Aelter IV: Love Eternal is a cold and miserable sounding creation, utilizing analog qualities to enhance the echoed vocals, which come off like a layered delay, into a haunting, almost psychedelic experience against clean, crisp guitars, bass notes, and drumming. This is precisely how the song "Life Eternal" plays out. As if staring out at the deserted wasteland after a violent rain storm while parched and on LSD, this composition's entrancing pace with signature early Country and Folk music weaves a nightmarishly occult setting in front of you, commanding you sway to the voodoo-tinged rhythm that continues to drone on without remorse.

And, really, that's what makes up a good chunk of this album: Slow, depressing, sometimes ritualistic compositions that make you feel like you're on some kind of bad acid trip. Although, you wouldn't expect that right away with how things start off. The "Intro" actually paints a largely different picture. This somewhat hazier night time performance utilizes additional synth effects to weave more of a seventies to eighties Horror film score approach meets Zombi landscape. The deeper you get, the more burdensome it becomes, laying on richer ambience that slowly crushes the breath right out of you. The hotter tone is carried into "Death Eternal", the start of your long trek through the desert without food or water as the blazing sun relentlessly beats down on you through the split-seconds f light shadows coming from the circling buzzards awaiting their meal for the deal.

Aelter IV: Love Eternal is the perfect name for what becomes a literal musically composed love letter to all things bleak and depressing. A miserable sounding album inspired by the harshest climates and terrains of the country, Aelter waste little time in not only hooking you with drug-infused droning rhythms and melancholic deep clean vocals, but also weave a nightmarish world of ritualism and hopelessness for your own pathetic soul through five extensive, sometimes minimalistic, ambient and drone performances. This isn't going to be something for everyone, though. Long time Aelter fans will not be let down by this further refined new entry, but if you go in expecting your standard album, or anything remotely similar to what Wolvserpent has turned out, you will be greatly let down. This is the sort of release for those who want to break away from the norm, live in a world of sorrow and misery, or, at the very least, have a very discernable taste for all thing dark with no real purpose. If this sounds like you, Aelter IV: Love Eternal is a fairly unique recording that is well worth at least experiencing once.

Review originally posted at Apoch's Metal Review.