ASTARIUM "Epoch of Tyrants"
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.
ASTARIUM "Drum Ghoul"
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.
ASTARIUM "Drum Ghoul"
Astarium is the solo-outfit of Nikolay ‘SiN’ Sikeritsky, who also runs NitroAtmosfericum Records. I wrote several reviews in the past for Concreteweb about Astarium (as well as for NitroAtmosfericum Records), and as you can see (enter the bands name in ‘search’ or go to ‘reviews sorted by artist’), I deeply like the refreshing approach of this act. In more than ten years of existence in meantime, SiN wrote and recorded many hands full of releases, including several splits and many full-length studio albums. Drum-Ghoul is the sixth (or seventh?) full album, written and recorded in Autumn 2015 at the SH Studio. The result consists of four lengthy compositions (total running time: 46:48), which get released on CD (jewel case with eight-page booklet) in an edition of 500 copies. Releasing / distributing duties are done by Symbol Of Domination Productions (a division of Russian Satanath Records) and More Hate Productions (not the first time that both labels join forces). Oh yes, just for your information, but the textual side has been inspired by the fiction novel The Slitherer From The Slime. It is a happy love story (hehe) by Lin V. Carter and Dave Foley, who do also operate under the nickname is H.P. Lowcraft – does it ring a bell? They also wrote about the Cthulhu mythology, so you might have a clue of the lyrical influence, I might hope… In that short story, Drumgool is the name of the castle where this horror story takes place, and that is where this albums title is taken from…The cover artwork by Alex Zubovsky clearly represents that theme. Hill Of Scape-Gallows opens with a howling wind and ominous thunder, and a great interplay of haunting, repetitive guitar leads, ghastly keyboards, pounding bass lines and some more elements left and right. This is a concept that interacts and continues, surprisingly entertaining despite the heavy obscurity behind it. Slowly but convinced, this opening track evolves, and after about four minutes, everything gets somewhat grimmer. Melodious patterns, gloomy synths and those characteristic vocals of SiN create a full, overwhelming pallet of morbid, mystic, mysterious and magic elegance. The symphonic Black Metal is not that overwhelmingly intense, yet still quite orchestral and bombastic, yet with a mesmerizing and haunting atmosphere rather than a cosmic or astral one. The focus lies on the hypnotic guitar leads especially, but it is like a total experience, which includes the floating keyboards lines, grim voices and the whole supportive rhythm section too. Sixteen opening minutes that show a unique creativity; Hill Of Scape-Gallows immediately sets the tone for a weird trip through scarifying dimensions… The voice of SiN is, as mentioned before, quite special, little hoarse and soar, throaty and gurgling - not especially that scream-like which gets compared with Black Metal in general. I can imagine that some listeners might dislike it, but they are wrong, for it truly fits to the occult character of this projects concept. It is rather story-telling than performing separated fragments of a history, whether it deals with the rattling speeches or the rusty throaty screams. Dead Asylum goes on in a comparable vein, but is remarkably faster and much more energetic. It reminds me a lot of the oldest spells by Norways Gehenna. Here too, tremolo riffing and majestic synths take the lead, but once again the total experience is much more than the sum of all individual elements. Fine within this song is the almost folkloric intermezzo, with sounds of storm included once again, introducing a second half that is at least as suffocating and oppressing as the first half of this composition. Hospitality Of Demon is the most mainstream piece on Drum-Ghoul, but that is not meant negative. It is based on catchy structures, especially keyboard driven, with sounds from water drops (might seem nothing but an additional detail, yet it is truly important to catch the whole concept). The second half is much faster, more intense and fierce, once again very varying in structure and speed. Pernicious Elixir, finally, is injected with samples and sounds too. The presence of those has never been so prominent before, I guess. Anyway, this epic is truly slow, enormously bewitching and purely dreamlike in atmosphere. The repetitive lead guitar riffs come with a hypnotising ambience, and some of the keyboard pieces are just ultra-terrestrial. Pernicious Elixir is the most diversified and adventurous piece out of four, reaching anthemic proportions. It is almost like a symphony of obscurity and transcendence, expletive and asphyxiating in a perverted, subtle manner…
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