|Review: Astaroth - The Demos ’93 / ’95 / ’98|
|The Demos ’93 / ’95 / ’98|
Label: Vic Records
Year released: 2019
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: May 20, 2020
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
for:The Demos ’93 / ’95 / ’98
This is one of many bands named Astaroth—I won't even bother counting them all. This is the one from Tampa, Florida, that formed in 1991 and was active for some years during the '90s. Seeing that this was a compilation of demo recordings, I feared that I was in for some crappy, screechy tracks all over the place, but no, this is in fact very listenable.
I thought the band was from Scandinavia or maybe France as this is raw, minimalistic black metal that was quite common for the first half of the '90s in those parts of the world, so that gives you an idea of what to expect in terms of music here. While this is quite raw and rather crude at times, it's nothing like "bathroom black metal". There's quality here. Good melodies that bring some life to otherwise haunting songs, even a little bit of subtle but catchy groove (for lack of a better word) here and there. The band's style is very doomy and melancholic, though they do have their take-no-prisoners fast, rocking tracks to get the blood pumping.
I'm usually not too fond of those demo compilations (or most compilations, for that matter), but this one is pretty cool from start to finish and almost feels like an actual album as everything pretty much works together. Good stuff.
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