The band’s last album An Unending Pathway was a notable, individual, and very engaging release from 2014, managing to combine elements of doom, black metal, and deathrock effectively and enjoyably. Continue reading
Ashtar play music that incorporates elements of Black Metal, Doom and Sludge. I do love a bit of Blackened Doom, and if you’ve been keeping up with the likes of Usnea, Mourning Pyre, Atriarch and Upyr then Ashtar should be your cup of tea too.
Even though the album cover screams Classic Doom, Ashtar’s musical aesthetic is more on the Black Metal side of things. Aspects of Classic Doom do make it into their sound, but these have been Blackened and corrupted into the sickening Sludge mass that they are now.
The vocals are mainly Blackened shrieks that seem to scratch at the back of your eyes like something unclean that wants to come into our world. The singer seems to have a knack for this kind of malevolent rasp, although she does occasionally use her voice in a few other ways throughout these six tracks.
The songs are bleak and sobering glimpses into the mindset of their creators. There are enough riffs and quality guitar lines here to keep anyone satisfied, but Ashtar are primarily about the mood and atmosphere that they create with their chosen medium.
The band are a duo and as such the music is relatively minimalistic, however it rapidly seems to expand to fill a large amount of space with its gloominess and it never seems like you’re listening to anything other than a full band. This is especially true when they incorporate additional sounds and instrumentation into their songs to further deepen the atmosphere.
There’s something extremely satisfying about this release. From the occult feelings to the Blackened bile; from the Doom aura to the impressive riffs; Ashtar have crafted a release that will appeal to the darkness inside.
Atriarch play a curious mix of Doom and Blackened Gothic Rock. Neurosis-style Doom and dark-Stoner sensibilities combine with almost-Darkwave Pop moments and Blackened influences. The juxtaposition of the two is handled well and is an uncommon approach. The band have certainly developed their own style in this regard and are to be applauded.
Each of the tracks take elements of these influences and blend them together to greater or lesser extents so that the resulting album has a unique character and flavour to it.
Genre-shifting in mid-song is a hard thing to do well and not many bands attempt it for this reason. Atriarch have not completely mastered it but they’re definitely more proficient at it than most. There is a lot of variety, interest and depth to these songs because of how good they are at merging their differing influences and distilling them into something that works well for the listener to enjoy.
An Unending Pathway is the kind of album that is unexpected and abnormal. Some people won’t take to their individuality, of course, but I believe that as long as the music’s good anything a bit different should be embraced and supported.
Atriarch are a bit different, their music is very good indeed and therefore you should embrace and support them. Off you go.