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An admirable effort, but not their best album - 70%

PorcupineOfDoom, December 31st, 2014

By this point in their career, Astarte had started to go down the melodic path with a release that could be described as being something along the lines of melodic black metal. It isn't quite as interesting as Demonized where they played melodic blackened death metal, but it does beat the bland black metal that they played beforehand.

First off, I have to say that the most interesting thing across this album is the use of keyboards. They really liven up the whole thing, because while the guitars have their moments they can't hold the songs by themselves like they were able to on Demonized. It is a different direction, but I can still enjoy what's being done here. The keyboard has a gentle tone about it but it actually fits in better than you might expect, as the music is more toned down than I had expected it to be. At times they take the lead, but for the most part they stick to hiding in the background like they did on Rise From Within.

The drums resort to simply bashing the cymbals and the snare for a large portion of the album, and there isn't really anything worth commenting on any further than that to do with the drumming. It's a shame, because the drumming on Demonized was immense at points and really made you feel the need to give a round of applause, but not so here. It is a different drummer, so I have to say that Ice (who played on the band's final release) is far and away superior.

As previously mentioned, the guitars are good at times. They do have their fair share of melodic sections that are decently done, but they lack the power that I'd hoped to find and at the end of the day they really do need the keyboards to hold them up and stop them from just floundering. The melodies also sound very samey and do feel repeated, but as on Rise From Within I could just listen to the stuff forever without feeling bored. Granted, I wouldn't feel too excited either, but it doesn't tire at a vast rate of naughts. Weird, I know, but that's the effect you get from this stuff.

There isn't really much to say about Tristessa's vocals either. As usual she sounds like she's influenced by traditional black metal more than death metal, but she never does all-out black metal screeches. Her voice does grow on you, so while you might not like it at first (I didn't) you will begin to as you listen to the music more.

All in all it shows a sign of the band moving in a more accessible direction than Rise From Within, but at the same time to me it is more enjoyable than regular black metal. Personally though I think Demonized is miles better than Quod Superius Sicut Inferius, and if you're after something either heavier or with better and more original sounding melodies then I'd point you in that direction.