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I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that. - 38%

Wilytank, April 15th, 2018

When it comes to bare bones basic air conditioner atmo-black metal, I'm puzzled how one album or band can stand out as better than the others and why one of those is Alpha Eri by Alrakis. The only real thing that sets this apart from the Summoning clones is the aesthetic. Other than that, the black metal component is nothing more than 35 minutes or so of fuzz. This is followed by 20 minutes of admittedly pretty sounding ambient music, but that's not enough to salvage this boring album.

The guitar work that comprises the first two thirds of this album is the same tremolo strumming that pervades through tracks 2 through five. It's accompanied by slow paced drums, a layer of keyboard, and some inoffensive basic black metal vocals. It sounds cool for the first stretch of "M20", but once you realize there's hardly variance it just turns into a big chore to get through. There's some sample thrown in near the start of "Sternenstaub" in an attempt to sound desolate with some higher sounding lead guitar thrown in when the twanging starts up again soon afterward, but these things don't help. Funnily, the album doesn't really get interesting to listen to until the black metal elements are cut out completely once "NGC 6611" leaving some very pleasant sounding space ambient from here until the end of the album, and yet the fact that this is at the end of all that preceding boredom just doesn't make it feel worth the perseverance.

This album is like finding a small nugget of gold inside a landfill. I do like good ambient material and that's what stops me from completely despising this album, but I'm going to give a weird look to anyone pushing Alpha Eri as a worthwhile black metal release. And I especially find it bizarre that people draw comparisons to Darkspace from Alrakis. The only thing that brings these two bands together is the spacey theme. Other than that, Alpha Eri is slow, sad sounding, has pretty keys, and is overall boring; all qualities that are not shared by Darkspace. Alrakis's atmospheric black ambient style was done better by Midnight Odyssey before Alpha Eri was even released. Go listen to that stuff instead.