|Review: Astrophobos - Arcane Secrets|
Year released: 2010
Review online: December 11, 2010
Reviewed by: Memnarch
Swedish? Early nineties styled Black/Death Metal? That can mean only one thing, and that's Astrophobos play extreme metal heavily influenced by Dissection. Genuinely good Dissection worship is a difficult thing to come by, most recent imitators Thulcandra are so successful at completely replicating that sound they are basically featureless clones. While they can pull the sound off perfectly, they're missing that certain spark than others that came before them such as Vinterland or Sacramentum were able to emulate. Arcane Secrets, the debut EP by Astrophobos has the potential to put these rookies on the same pedestal as those aforementioned greats, and although I say rookies, make no mistake these three are far from inexperienced at this style of music. It may be their first release but according to the band they have been playing this style of music for years, and judging by the quality and professionalism of the music on this EP, I can well believe them.
The EP is extremely short, but being self-financed and self-released with no label backing whatsoever you can obviously forgive this slight shortcoming. Being completely DIY, the production's gotta be pretty amateur then? Wrong, nothing could be further from the truth. This is what struck me most about this release, how clear and polished the production is for a self-release. And no wonder whenever it's Peter In de Betou who did it. Also known for working with Watain, who have been known to dabble in a bit of Dissection themselves, at least he's experienced in the field. It has a lot more in common with The Somberlain-era Dissection than it does Storm of the Light's Bane with more emphasis on the drumming and guitar work yet still retaining that melodic backbone. "Crossing the Abyss" for example, might as well have been a track lost from those sessions. The guitar work is as you'd expect it, slick and unmistakably Swedish in tone, with intense razor sharp riffing. Micke's vocals are oppressive and strong, as they should be, because Jon is an exceptionally hard guy to emulate. As for the drummer being seventeen, I find it completely fascinating at how developed his sound and technique is for such a young age.
According to the band they have a full-length album in the works of which I will be waiting with high anticipation. Cover art from Caspar David Friedrich, and three highly impressive tracks kneeling at the altar of Dissection, what more do you want? A label needs to sign these guys up fast, because judging by the quality of material on this short but striking release, they're going to get a lot bigger, and more than just mere pretenders to Dissection's golden throne.
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