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In their Polish years, speed/thrash metal band Astharoth created their only album, 'Gloomy Experiments'. The title fits perfectly with the music; this is anything but your usual speed/thrash metal! Get ready for some mind-warping insanity.
Astharoth's influences came from technical thrash metal, from both sides of the Atlantic ocean. German and Bay Area vibes are abound on 'Gloomy Experiments', but Canada's cyber-thrashers Voivod also were a huge influence, which can be heard straight from the album's first riff. Compositions aren't straight, but at times very meandering. This makes the music tough to get, but there's always something so cool and interesting happening every now and then, that I stay with Astharoth and their 'Gloomy Experiments' to the last. The band can jump from German style riff (Kreator is a clear influence here) to eerie Voivod-esque melody and then to jazzy bit and after two seconds to Testament style melody. There's a lot of tempo changes, so if you can't hold on with them, don't bother with Astharoth. However, there is a chorus in most of the songs, so the variety doesn't mean there are no structures in the songs. The song quality varies, but maybe I just haven't got into some songs yet. Could be well true, so eccentric experience this is.
The band's playing isn't metronome-accurate, but it breathes and makes this something unique. If you think nowadays' honed-to-perfection productions are the best thing, you should check this one out. This has so much more life in this! Sound-wise this is good as every instrument is well audible, and rawish, unpolished. Vocals are extremely characteristic. Clean vocals, some screams and such, and at times with insanely fast pace. English pronunciation is bad, but it only adds to speciality. As with the music, also with the vocals goes the word "insane".
'Gloomy Experiments' ain't for all thrash-heads, but if you search for something with personal touch, then give this a spin. But: Give it some time, because you can't get this all with one spin, if ever. Be brave, traveller!
(origially written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2006)