A supergroup of sorts — despite their claims to the contrary — this progressive black metal outfit includes members from Borknagar, Satyricon, 1349 and Spiral Architect, without actually sounding much like any of them. This is far more melodramatic and, um, “astral” — their word, that — than your regular confrontational black metal, and even throws a glance or two in the direction of death metal and Eastern European extreme metal as well. It should theoretically sit well with fans of Arcturus — who released one of last year’s definitive metal albums — but this is a far less compelling release altogether.
It’s cold and brutal for sure, but not in a chilling, eerie way. The coldness has more to do with the disinterest and plain tiredness of the compositions, the overdramatic pathos, and the cliché-ridden “pure” progressive parts. Some tracks are rescued by the occasional nice groove and some fiery, vomiting vocals, but those are the odd ones out. The album suffers from a sense of déja vu and unoriginal solutions, and is proof if needed that it takes more than mere technical proficiency to set oneself apart these days.
Earache Records: http://www.earache.com