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Crown of Asteria > Cycles > Reviews > lord_infernus
Crown of Asteria - Cycles

Majestic Instrumental Black Metal - 93%

lord_infernus, April 12th, 2014

Crown Of Asteria is one Meghan Wood from Minnesota. The sounds that she produces will shock many a metalhead, not convinced that a girl belongs in metal. She definitely knows her way around a guitar better than most males. She has released a few splits and demos so far and one full-length (the amazing "North" released earlier in the year). Her earlier material had black metal vocals on the songs, but she has since dropped those. Doing that seems to have given her more confidence as the songs she has been producing since are nothing short of masterful.

I am reviewing the cassette version of the EP out on Sylvan Screams Analog Records. Since the EP is only 2 songs, I don't see how it could hurt to discuss them both? The first song, centerpiece, and bulk of the record is called "Cassiopeia: Queen Above The Skyline" and from the title I would guess it's about the constellation. This song is one behemoth of an instrumental, and at just over 25 minutes itself it's longer than most EPs. When a song is of this length, it's definitely hard for it to hold someone's attention, not to mention when the track is instrumental, but Ms. Wood composes music like some directors make films.

Cinematic and majestic are the two words that come in my mind when listening to CoA. I could lie on my back and close my eyes and these songs could take me to a million different places. The most obvious influences at work here would be Ulver and Enslaved. There is a coldness to the riffs that I guess could come from someone living in a place like Minnesota. This song twists and turns and goes through somber periods, and when it arrives at the end you feel as though you have been on a journey. The second track, "Cycles", at about 5 minutes long and is more of an afterthought. Not that it's a bad song, it's just more quiet and stays in the same feeling for the duration, kind of like a meditation period of calm after the amazing "Cassiopeia".

Having the entire EP on both sides of the tape is perfect, because I instantly want to turn it over and play it again! If first by "North" and now "Cycles", Meghan is showing us that she is moving on past traditional black metal into a more "cinematic" area of metal, and I am all for that. Not many musicians can use their guitar like a painter uses his brush, but she does. I know that with Crown Of Asteria at the helm, I am libel to adventure anywhere in my mind. I cannot recommend this enough. Few points taken off for it just not being long enough, but that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. Get this tape now if you are a fan of the above mentioned groups or Agalloch, Alor, or October Falls.