Immortal Frost Productions, 28.11.16
70 minutes is an ambitious length and something of an endeavor to embark on. Especially for a one-man band. And for
debutants, naturally. Astral Winter, however, is no newcomer. Josh Young from the
Australian island Tasmania started the band in 2008 and released his third album more than a month ago.
Besides the demo from the following year, he has worked alone on every album, but he has granted himself a few guest
musicians on this album.
Astral Winter plays melodic and synth-based symphonic “black” metal of the type that soars around
majestic Gothic spires of fairytale castles. Thus; atmospheric metal. The band is compared to Wintersun, but
I would argue that Summoning's Tolkien metal is a way better reference. The music is not directly ambient,
but borrows some moods from synthetic Dungeons & Dragons music. I'm not going to compare Astral Winter
to Tartarus, but a touches of the majestic and orchestral leads me to think in such directions. This band is
still far from as cleverly structured. The atmosphere of troll-forest and magic castles takes my mind back to
Surturs Lohe, while the home-made character is reminiscent of Frozen Ocean, without any of these serving
as good references. Thoughts of death/doom also cross my mind due to the album's inherent melancholy, but the synth
heavy exhibition Forest of Silence perform, moves in the outer regions of my field of expertise.
The Tasmanian devil has nonetheless some way to go to get on the same qualitative level as for example Wintersun.
The sound has plenty of debris, and the production is also thin and frail. The uneven, raspy and straight-out cheap sound
is certainly an objection on my part. This poor sound should not be necessary in this era. It's of course possible
that it's supposed to sound retro, like dungeon synth, for there are always those who enjoy a genuine underground feel,
and who appreciate an unpolished exterior. With album number three, my personally opinion is that it's time to seek out a
proper studio. A trained audio dictator can sometimes work wonders. The tone colour of the piano has, however, a nice ring
to it, just to mention that as well.
Forest of Silence doesn't offer the strongest compositions, but the melodies themselves ain't too bad.
There's a lot of comfortable and dreamy music here that sets the mood while perusing your favoured fantasy literature.
15 minutes long The Palace of the Prophets stands as a favourite in this respect.
Josh Young has collaborated with other musicians in the sense that he has left parts of the vocal to
D. G. Klyne (Appalachian Winter), Josh Gee (from Atra Vetosus, another band
Young is involved in) and Kai Sai Mei.
I have no idea how many of the original 500 copies of the limited edition that remains in stock, but the album is still
available as of this writing, and it's of course also available
In harsh competition with well-established bands and releases with proper production, Forest of Silence
fall short in my ears, although the music itself is basically pleasant enough. Rating: 3-
Solitude Productions, 24.10.16
I fully understand that some metalheads ain't fond of funeral doom. The different albums may appear as very similar before
the music has settled properly. Becoming familiar with such an album takes time. They tend to be long-lasting and
they require many spins to grow sufficiently. The first meeting with a new funeral doom album, or “melodic doom/death” as
Metal Archives defines the band, is generally a test of patience unmatched in other realms of metal's sphere.
I had, however, the fullest confidence that Revelations Of Rain would deliver.
The Moscow-band, named Откровения Дождя in their own tongue, could celebrate fifteen years in the service
of despondency as they releases their fifth album, Akrasia, or Акрасия, last year. Not
unexpectedly, the album lasts for an hour. Fairly exactly, actually. The songs are, however, with their a bit more than seven
minutes on average, not dauntingly long. As expected, the material also grow into beautiful, mournful pieces that convey
sadness and gloom without a single flash of light.
On the negative side, it must be said that the genre guidelines are followed without any surprising moments. Connoisseurs
know what they're getting into and whether that's sufficient for a purchase. I can't say that I'm tired of traditional
funeral or that the music have to be highly spectacular to appeal, but the melodies ought to be well above average
and somewhat recognizable, while preferably providing a somewhat poignant sensation in order to stand out with panache and be
recommended without objection.
The Russian veterans are not quite there. The songs are pleasantly sad and their flair for structuring prevents
tedious and monotonous segments. With Akrasia, Revelations Of Rain delivers a sturdy
and comfortable album that soak the listener in an unmistakable atmosphere, regardless of time and place, but that probably
doesn't stand out enough to exceed the equivalent from other sources. I'm not going to refuse using the term “very good”,
but not to a greater extent than about others in the same position. Even if there's no real originality to speak of,
supporter of such music can still shop safely without risking strangulation by the clammy hand of disappointment, as the
Russians belong to the elite what beautiful and alternating melody lines concerns. Rating: 4+