An album originally released in 1998, Astrofaes' debut 'Dying Emotions Domain' is now getting the full re-issue, re-mastering and repackaging treatment.
Astrofaes are from the Ukraine and what a groove they get into. The first track, 'The Black Woods Theory', an orchestrated synthesizer piece that would not be out of place on one of those nasty new-age spiritual feelgood discs, lulls you a bit before 'Fiery Mysticism' hits you like a freight train at full tilt. That is pretty much it, until the last track, 'A Song Of The Night Birds', which leads the album out with more of the touchy-feely spiritual thing.
Article continues below...
'Dying Emotions Domain' is ferocious and not very pretty but, by God, it's good. What gets the thumbs-up from me is the fact the band do not try to be too clever. Despite the occasional subtle progressive touch, the songs are allowed to find their groove and then sit in it.
Better still, they use traditional instruments and structures and a saxophone (I kid ye not - it's there on 'Path To Burning Space') which helps enormously to give the album a certain depth a lot of albums of this genre lack.
What also work well are the keyboards. While the album as a whole is a whopping lump of brutality, the keyboards sit there serene and calm as you please, creating an interesting counterpoint to the savagery around it.
They've included a cover of Celtic Frost's 'Necromantical Screams', which would have been better as a bonus track, because the band's writing is good enough not to need it. The production is pretty raw, but that seems to suit this album perfectly. Apparently, the vocal is done in very poor English but, to be honest, I couldn't tell - so if it was, it made little difference.
These days, too much of this stuff tries to justify its existence by being too clever and thus ends up sounding demented. This album is a nice surprise, because not only does Astrofaes make use of various musical influences from its homelands, but it also knows how to find and keep a groove.
A little gem.