|Review: Astarte - Sirens|
Label: Avantgarde Music
Year released: 2004
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: March 17, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Well, here's a surprise. I've been hearing good things about this band, who have some notoriety as the one and only all-female Black Metal band. Some say they are good, some say they are crap, and some say they are good but are just a bunch of models playing music written by a producer or something. This is their fourth album, and I have to say I'm really impressed.
Let's just ignore the fact that this is a girl band for a moment. If nobody told you that, you would never know it. This is heavy and furious Black Metal of the Dimmu/Emperor school with a lot of melody and flavorings of Thrash and Death metal. The riffs are excellent, the vocals are at the required level of harsh aggression, and the drumwork is really impressive. The atmosphere is very evil, with the keys providing backup rather than wanking over the riffs, so the songs are very guitar-driven and heavy, with the keys just providing space and the odd piano interlude. Overall this comes off as a cross between Emperor and Dark Funeral, with a very slick and modern production job. It credits all music and lyrics as being written by Tristessa (lead guitar and vocals), who appears to be the main chick here. Yes, before you ask, she is the really hot one. She's been the only steady member since the band started, so while recruiting other girls for the other spots may be a bit gimmicky, it doesn't mean this is the Black Metal equivalent of Banannarama – I mean, where's the motivation? There's really not enough money in BM to make it worth that kind of ruse. Plus if you'll note, the drums were played by one Ivar, who, we can assume, is a guy. (and who is also not pictured in the booklet.)
So while making her good looks a selling point may be a bit suspect, I would have to say Tristessa is no different from a lot of other BM dudes who's bands are essentially one-person projects with assorted guests and friends filling out the roster. All that aside, this is a highly enjoyable album of melodic, yet brutal Black Metal that musters all the requisite evil, aggression and occult references one would expect. They may not wear corpsepaint, but Astarte kick some serious ass anyway.
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