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Black Metal Supernova - 80%

LefterisK, October 11th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Avantgarde Music (Digipak)

Alien Syndrome 777 is an international avant-garde black metal project formed by and around guitarist/songwriter Alessandro Rossi (Blackdrone Inc, Emrevoid). The project started in 2007 with a virtual collaboration between A.R. and the experimental electronic producer Joey Hopkins (Joey Hopkins Midget Factory) that was fueled by a mutual interest in extreme music and science fiction themes. After Hopkins’ tragic passing and a long hiatus, A.R. gathered a new lineup [Vincent Cassar (Smohalla, Fixions) on keyboards and Oscar Martin (As Light Dies, Garth Arum) on vocals] that has helped take these aforementioned influences in a more focused direction. This new direction has been further cultivated in Outer, a seven-song album investigating humanity’s connection with the earthly and the celestial.

All of this is rendered with sinister riffing and infernal vocals, backed by a frenzy of synths that work as a stimulating background, subtle but highly effective. The songs are composed in such a way that their structures seem easy to grasp even though there are so many elements going on simultaneously that many listens are required in order to fully digest it all. Musically, the band continues what they started with 2009’s self-titled EP. The guitar riffs and the vocals are following a traditional black metal pathway, but the general orchestration and the mindset behind it nod to futuristic masterpieces like Thorns or 666 International. From the crushing palm-muted riffing of "Symmetriads" and the tremolo-picked madness of "The Bleeding Anthill of the Universe" to the sinister sections like "To Balance and Last", everything is encapsulated in a musical vacuum from which no escape is possible.

Outer also consists of atmospheric, instrumental pieces that bookend the main songs and provide an eerie interlude in the middle. The last of these is the opaque and aptly named "Black Box" featuring an airy sound that’s later supplemented by a repeated arpeggiated section. As the atmosphere gets denser and denser, the track reveals itself to be the best possible end of this journey, reaching the internal world by creating a soundscape for the extraterrestrial. The album´s only drawback is that it ends too quickly-- the length is quite brief and leaves the listener craving more. Of course, this does not take anything away from the listening experience but one or two more songs would make this experience even more fulfilling.

Summing up, I would like to add that Alien Syndrome 777 is undeniably forged in the same pit that spawned bands like Thorns or Spektr. If you think this is something for you, you might as well enter this dark but dangerously inviting pit.

Lefteris Kefalas