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ASTARIUM "Epoch of Tyrants"

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One man project from Russia which is active since 2005. It is actually quite impressive to do everything on his own for such long time, at least with this album. I like to watch war movies and Sin who is a main brain of Astarium used historical pictures that feature art cover to his album. Also, on the record you can find sounds of war like gun fire shooting; suffer of the casualties and other cruelties of battlefield. I do not know if this is authentic as the pictures but I assume Sin wanted those fragments blended into music, particularly be kept in a realm of real war. Epoch Of Tyrants is a symphonic black metal album with colossal impact of keyboards on his music. Even guitars are much in background and I wonder if that is an issue of the albums sound. In fact, production to it is not evil sounding, it is just bad. I would appreciate guitars that sound normal but instead it is just noisy and chaotic which is to blame on overall production. Because the album is made amateur ways, do not expect that any element of it (bass, drums, especially guitars...) is recorded up to good standards as it should be in terms of the album. That is why Epoch Of Tyrants is more like demo but better things go with music of Astarium. In the beginning I thought the atmosphere of songs will go more ways, like early Bathory, Graveland and they are but with more Emperor, demo rawness era to it. Epoch of Tyrants is dominated by keyboard parts which orchestrations are quite interesting. This is a reason this album is so called symphonic and a touch of folk and ambient are also present. Vocals are bleak and keen to the most ways of singing in black metal. Guitars are lousy and suppose to bring deeper, abysmal sensations in authors first intentions but it is lost to poor tracking of guitars. Programming of some electronic elements are good addition to the music of the band. Sin has his point in making dark black metal compositions and for most time he found his moments. This is not bad album music wise. I think it is overwhelming in its imperfection but if you let it down in production process - with every album out there, then even most mesmerizing songs are hardly to save.

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ASTARIUM "Drum Ghoul"

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Sin has very impressive discography as one man band and he seems to steer all of his efforts and time to make this band an entity of his life I assume... Album is dedicated to one of the most controversial band in history of black metal-Burzum. More precisely, to his Hviss Lyset Tar Oss (I remember the name of this album even if it is not in language I speak). Lyrics on the other hand are based on The Slitherer from the Slime novel by Lin Carter and Dave Foley. This album has been recorded in 2015 but released just now in 2017 somehow. For those of you who do not know Sin, he is a Russian and on this record you can hear his devotion to raw, symphonic black metal, neo classical folk and ambient. It is atmospheric album with huge amount of keyboards, black metal vocals and little imitated death metal growls. No virtuosity on instruments, no extra speed on guitars and no crazy drum blasts but few faster moments. Music has one ghostly climax of the record that could be easily the substitute soundtrack to H.P. Lovecraft short story but most likely could fit to one of European terrifying legends like Dracula. Europe do not make much horror movies but I am pretty sure there are many untold stories to tell on big screen. Or bands like Astarium could make it happen through music to fright the world in the name of new nightmares. This is slow burn album in most parts. Those 4 songs have some gestures of typical black metal compositions that hold his harsh guitar sounding guitars and vocals in dark stronghold. But in long minutes the songs do not even sound like black metal, go beyond that and open the door for other bizarre influences. Although the album has very active symphonic elements which are strongly attached to folklore and roots of Eastern Europe, it gave Sin a room to improve clarity of Astarium songs. He plays it with brighter imagination than black metal parts so the record is much better by that and interesting. Throughout the album there are sounds of real life like a wind, dipping water, similar as on previous record I reviewed. Drum-Ghoul has basic sound of Norwegian black metal if you will but atmospherics from region of East Europe are essential to his original songs. In most moments, the album is best to play at night.

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