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A promising start of depression - 75%

Torniojaws, April 12th, 2010

Depressive and slow (cosmic) black metal, much in the vein of what their fellow nationals in Darkspace write, except in the other end of the spectrum of speed. Personally, I like this slower style quite a lot too and Astral Silence really delivers, with only a few problems. While the idea of this genre is to paint a scene, there are limits to just how much repetition you can listen to. The first two tracks after the nearly 10 minute (!) intro are based on the same similar chord progression, and the song "hydrA" is pretty much the same riff/idea from the beginning to the end. But it is fortunate it sounds marvellous. You can only wonder what could have been, should the song be slightly more refined and fleshed out.

By the time they reach the second half of the album (duration-wise), things start to become interesting. The songs are still in the same style, but with more tension building and more ear-catching parts. Not in the radio song sense, mind you. This is not an album you listen to while driving around in a car, or just sitting around. To really get in the mood, you must have the proper state of mind, and then you will enjoy it much more - in solitude, with a dark night outside the window.

The production of this album is also strongly related to Darkspace. If you are unfamiliar with them, the nearest famous comparison could be Emperor's Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk. The drums are really space-y and the overall sound is clearly in the dirtier, more chaotic side of productions. But it really fits the songs and it would be difficult to imagine this album with a stereotypically "good" production. It would simply not have as much of an impact as it does now.

Overall, this album is a really good debut with a strong sense of direction on how the music should be. After hearing this album, I'm really looking forward for the next release from Astral Silence. With some minor tweaking to the song structures, the next album could be a small classic in the new black metal wave. There seems to be a nice black metal scene starting to form in Switzerland. Perhaps the return of Celtic Frost initiated it, and now with Triptykon holding the torch, it gives inspiration for new bands to start writing something really interesting, like Astral Silence have done here.