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Astral Decay – Sea of Darkness [EP]

astral decay – sea of darkness [ep]

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While still a very new face in the underground Melodic Death Metal scene, Astral Decay already made an impact with me with their first demo – ‘Through Storms of Blood and Steel’. While it was plagued with some notable issues (poor mixing and mediocre drum machines), it was obvious there was a lot of talent shining through the mind of the young mastermind behind the project. With this latest EP, Alexander Pippin has sought to correct some of the faults we saw.

For those unfamiliar with Astral Decay, the project attempts to play a rawer, more brutal form of Melodic Death that has been done by bands such as Intestine Baalism, Mi’Gauss and obviously Arghoslent (the admiration for this project being obviously aesthetically as well). The first notable difference between this and the more Gothenburg approach is the employment of lower guttural vocals as well as a chunkier rhythmic section (including blastbeats). Just as with its partner genre, there is an abundance of well-crafted harmonized riffing thrown in that gives the music a very regal touch. This is the part where Pippin truly excels and was evident from the first demo, his ability to throw out these fantastic melodic segments that don’t deter from the overall brutality of the demo – just listen to the middle section of ‘The Frozen Plains of Desolation’ to get a sense of this.

Most of these melodies are carefully cut from the aforementioned influences or the usual Gothenburg suspects (In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, etc), but one can’t help but feel that some of it also comes from the very early melodic metalcore of the late 90s/early 00s. This point of reference might make some people run to the hills, but think less of commercial metalcore acts like Killswitch Engage or As I Lay Dying and more the rawer, sensible nature of acts such as Undying, Dead Blue Sky or Prayer for Cleansing – acts that are worth checking out for fans of Melodic Extreme Metal in general.

This EP continues to have the two main issues I had with the demo – the mixing and the programmed drumming. However, on both fronts, there has been an improvement. This is particularly the case with the mixing where the melodies come out stronger this time around and start to give a hint of what this project could achieve with proper production qualities. As it stands, this is a good follow up and I continue to be interested in seeing where this young one-man act can continue taking this form of triumphant and regal Melodic Death Metal.

Astral Decay

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