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Just not that good - 42%

Noktorn, February 24th, 2007

One of the biggest shams in music criticism is presuming that if someone doesn't like a piece, they simply don't understand it. How much more self-righteous and self-indulgent can you get? To presume that disliking something necessarily means that you don't fully grasp the grandeur of the piece. No, that's not it: my saying that I dislike implies only that I dislike it, not that it's some self-deprecating double entendre designed to get someone else to tell me what it REALLY means.

I say this because I don't really like Starshine's demo. No, it's not because I don't understand the piece; it's not even because there's something objectively wrong with it. It's simply that this particular breed of black/doom doesn't stir me like other artists do. Unfortunately, a case like this is beyond purely subjective and launched into a realm of critical ethereality that makes it nigh impossible to judge on any reasonable level. What you have here is a variety of black/doom metal that's pretty heavily reminiscent of Xeper, sans vocals. It has the similar drifting, somewhat atonal chords, but it doesn't have the same epic, gripping sense of melody of the other band. The drumming is rather mid-paced and rock-based, but mostly exists merely to carry the music along. This is very heavily a guitar-based album, with two separate lines typically playing at once, which, while occasionally very nice, more frequently does nothing for me in particular.

However, I'm afraid that the primary downfall of this album is the repetition. I think that were this more classically designed with minimal repetition, it could be quite effective. However, as it stands, it just sort of drones on between parts that seem fairly unrelated before coming to rather abrupt conclusions at the end of each of the demo's four tracks. And while there are some aesthetically 'pretty' moments, it overall leaves me feeling rather unsatisfied when all is said and done. This being said, I have no doubt that this is a release that would appeal to numerous people, but simply not me. I'd recommend that fans of the ambient side of black metal check this out regardless of my personal opinions; you might just find something you like.

(Originally written for www.vampire-magazine.com)

Their first songs - 85%

Necrolust33, January 9th, 2007

This band from Austin, TX create epic sound worlds on this first release, a series of four songs that swirl, echo, change, and constantly move from one place to another in the attempt, I think, to both inspire the listener and then constantly hide the music's main motivations. Mixing slow, very dark and mournful passages of abstract guitar parts revolving, entering and exiting each melody, with more straightforward Norwegian black-influenced riffing obviously inspired by Burzum and then raging, very rhythmic rock segments and simpler melodies, this music is calculated to take one on a journey and leave one very far from where one started. At times epic, at other times claustrophobic and secret, the music opens and closes alternate worlds as it speeds by. Many ideas are left behind here as afterthoughts which will probably be explored on later releases. A very good first demo and hopefully a harbinger of even better things to come.