Reviewed: September 2002
Released: 2002, Black Lotus
The three lovely ladies of Astarte are back! The depth and power of the Greek black metal scene never ceases to amaze me and Astarte is no exception.
Some people may not be a familiar with Black Lotus records but they are a top-notch outfit and this is a great CD in every respect. The packaging is great, 14 pages, full colour, really high quality paper, lots of pictures, lyrics, credits and so on. I find these always enhance my listening experience. It shows a level of dedication and professionalism to the form.
The band features Kinthia (Vocals, guitar and acoustic guitar) Nemesis (Guitar and acoustic guitar), Tristessa (bass, classical guitar) and Ivan on the drums. Oddly enough (but not really surprising) Ivan is left out of the photos and cover art. A session musician perhaps? Yes, the ladies are attractive and featured prominently but it is not in a cheap, sexual way (like Kittie does for example) to gain attention. Other little bonuses are top-notch production by Daoloth of Necromantia, the appearance of guest vocals by Spiros of Septic Flesh and all the keyboards on this beast were performed by Iraklis of Swan Christy.
Musically, I must say they are deeply entrenched in a more modern gothic, black and death metal style. The opening cut, “Reign Unfold” features lots of shredding brutality amidst a sea of backup female choirs that are ever-present but not overwhelming. Track two, “Inflamed Paradox” shows some great ideas including piano, spoken word and guttural growls, more female choirs. It just gets better and better. I am no longer surprised by the brutality of female vocalists as of late but these are very harsh and certainly in league with Angela and Sabina.
This is Astarte’s third release and shows continued progression, and maturation of song writing and lyrics as well. All of these factors combine to make this a very enjoyable listening experience, one that requires a little more attention than a straight ahead black metal CD. Visit them at Astarte-site.cjb.net.
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