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Typical Genesis-like Rotting Christ simulation - 67%

Scizzgoth, January 22nd, 2006

I can argue that the greek black metal has given really much to the sound, with such legends as Kawir, Necromantia, Varathron, Naer Mataron and Nocternity. Apart from Greece's dedication to black metal as a nation of musicians, I can personally testify that lots of women are listening to it and actively participate in bands.

Astarte happen to be one of those bands. A little bit of a gimmick, some hype, a few big names on the releases and a good support by Rotting Christ really made them get into the spotlight quickly. Their early material was suprisingly good black metal, reminding of the genre's earlier days. And of course, to know that such beauties were producing this infernal music... it was something original to say the least.

Sadly I can't say the same for Quod Superius Sicut Infernus. In fact, if I had to find words to describe it, "original" would be the first one I would rule out. The reason is that this is your typical, average, melodic to the bone, Borgir-insipired Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal, with not its own distinct personality. What went wrong here? I thought that a unique line-up can possibly bring in a new perspective into things.

When getting past the initial dissapointment that this truly tries to simulate the new scene of black metal, by copying bands like Old Man's Child, Hortus Animae or Dimmu Borgir, it all boils down to one question. How does it fare against the works that it tries to simulate?

The answer is "quite good". If you are a fan of the above bands, Quod Superius Sicut Inferius will probably be an enjoyable listen, from the blackened introductory track, to the more Summoning inspired Inflamed Paradox. The Rotting Christ influences could not be missed either, with songs like Deep Down The Cosmos, and I hope you are getting the point. There is something in here for everyone who listens to melodic black metal. Nothing is done exceptionally well, but it not a bore or a chore to listen through once.

I would recommend listeners to check out songs like In Velvet Slumber, for the more Rotting Christ inspired songs, Crossing The Wounded Mirror Of Death for something more symphonic and Dimmu Borgir influented, and Incarnate Legend of Mummy Queen for something slightly more closer to early black metal, in the vein of a mixture between Mayhem and early Rotting Christ.

All in all, a decent release, but I somehow already miss the kind of sound a band loses when it signs to a major label and tries to please all mainstream listening "black metal" fans out there. I am sadly not one of them, though I can appreciate what good moments this release has. And it has enough for me to not look down on it with disgust.