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Misanthropic - 81%

Thamuz, August 27th, 2004

‘Renascent Misanthropy’ is the long awaited first release from Australia’s own, Astriaal. More than half a decade in the making, this album is well worth the extensive wait, with the band crafting their own brand of brutal Black Metal.

The guitar-work is top notch with some superb riffs that compliment and continue the eerie darkness that was created the moment the ghoulish sounds of the introduction broke out. This also helps define and build on the furious pace of the genre. The beautiful acoustic interludes are stunning and really help to break up the relentless speed, without taking anything away from the music, even adding a slant of the dark atmosphere of the album.
Drumming wise this album consists of the standard pummelling of blast beats and the link – without being too repetitious. It is important to note that sometimes the drumming is a bit washed out in the production, but overall a solid performance.

The vocals are of course the custom Black Metal shriek, with the occasional use of ‘clean’ vocals to keep things interesting – which works really well. The lyrics are of nihilistic and misantrophic nature, keeping to the dark foundations that this genre is set upon.

The tracks all seem to have enough variety to keep things entertaining and the brilliant instrumental really spices things up. This album has plenty of potential to keep you coming back for more and more.

A top Black Metal release, brutal from start to end. If you’re into this genre it is highly recommended that you pick up a copy, you won’t be disappointed.

Not surprising - 80%

K_a_z_u_y_a, July 8th, 2004

ailing from Australia, Astriaal haven't really got all that much of a big past, a few EPs, a couple of demos and two full length releases. This album starts out with a boring intro that just says "Ritual hate construct" over and over and over and get the point.

Then when you're least ready for it, track 2 starts all of a sudden (Called "Ritual Hate Construct", funnily enough). This track pounds through with such speed and force I suddenly had the urge to get into a fight with someone.

The next song "Revere The Labyrinth" is kinda standard black metal, nothing that really sets it apart from anything else, although, it does have some rather nice and memorable riffs that'll make you want to come back for more. "Glories Of The Night Sky" is much the same as the previous track, only less memorable. Definately not a stand out track.

So I've listened to a minute of the next track "Ode To Antiquity", and well, to be honest, it's much the same as the last two tracks (Surprise, surprise).

Next up, we have "Arborescence" which has a much more traditional metal type of intro, but at about 30 seconds into it, this song really gets going. This song strikes a sort of resemblance to Satyricon to me for some reason... only better (I'm not a big Satyricon fan). This really is a great song, one of those songs that're impossible to play so much that you lose interest in it.

Now, we have "Acquisition Of The Stars", which is an instrumental, and let me say a fucking excellent instrumental at that. It's a bit slowly to start out with, but it soon gets going.

Then we have "Reaper Of The Dark Ages", wait, haven't I heard this before?! I coulda sworn it though. Doesn't really sound much different to much of the previous stuff, although.. the lead up intro into it is excellent, I might add.

Which brings us to the closing track, "The Halls Of Perdition", just a standard, annoying outra that really adds no atmosphere to what was previously played, would've worked better as an intro in my opinion.

Overall, it's not a bad album really. It wasn't worth the the money (for some reason that Mayhem was cheaper...) maybe if it were half as much, but all in all I wasn't dissapointed. I reccommend checking it out if you get the chance.

{Written by me for}

Generic, But Very Good - 93%

darkandfoul, May 9th, 2004

Astriaal blast forth with some very generic black metal… and they do it very well. The band manage to generate atmosphere throughout the album, and sound totally evil at the same time. At times they touch on a sound of their own, especially with the clean guitar parts

“Ritual Hate Construct” begins with a great black metal scream, piercing through from the intro track. It blasts along at a million miles an hour, with some great guitar work, and serves as a great introduction to what Astriaal seem to be all about.

“Revere The Labyrinth” continues along the same vein as much of the album – fast, single note tremolo picking, blast speed drumming, and typical black metal vocals. Again, a song very generic of the genre, yet done incredibly well. The song progresses to an interlude with some great clean guitar sounds, generating a more customized sound for the band. It’s almost as if the clean guitar parts are taking on the role of keyboards, filling out the sound and adding atmosphere.

“Glories Of The Nightsky” comes next, after a nice relaxing introduction, again pierced by your standard black metal scream. Again, more blast speed, broken up with a nice guitar riff driven chorus. This song has a great structure, and a much slower feel than other tracks on the album. It’s definitely the stand-out song on the album.

“Ode To Antiquity” sticks to the feel and atmosphere of the album, with some technical off-time guitar work, and more of the clean guitar sound. And there’s even some clean vocals. This song seems to explore more sounds than the others, and while it is more original and unique sounding than the other songs, it’s still generic black metal.

“Arborescence” is another great song, and even though it has a different structure, and different guitar riffs, by this stage of the album the songs all begin to sound the same. Not that this is such a bad thing, because the songs all sound great. It’s just that it becomes a bit repetitive. Anyway, this song once again has some nice clean guitar parts, and a spoken / clean vocal interlude. It’s these slower moments, broken up by the faster and more extreme vocal parts that add to the atmosphere of the album, and as the song develops with more and more new parts and riffs, you feel yourself becoming more and more charged with energy.

The instrumental track “Acquisition Of The Stars” begins with a clean guitar part with some sort of heavy chorus / flange effect, before developing into a kind of folk influenced heavy metal riff. This is a great song, and showcases the skills of the guitars nicely.

“Reaper Of Dark Ages” sees the return of the blast speed drumming, and is perhaps the fastest song on the album. It develops nicely as it slows down a bit, and the music begins to develop in layers. At times this song has a great feel to it, which tends to make up for the other parts because in my opinion, it’s the weakest song on the album.

Basically, Astriaal’s “Renascent Misanthropy” is stock standard black metal. They play very fast, break things up nicely with great interludes, and manage to create an eerie atmosphere as you listen to the CD. While they are very typical of the whole black metal genre, they are nonetheless very good at what they do. It would be nice to see them develop their own style, but seeing that they are quite capable of producing such high quality black metal, it would almost be a shame if they did.