Released: 2007, Obsidian Records
Reviewer: Simon Lukic
Long viewed as one of Australia’s most influential Black Metal bands, Astriaal’s debut RENASCENT MISANTHROPY has an interesting history. First released in 2003, it has taken a life of its own, giving the band much acclaim in its homeland. Having remained dormant for sometime – after the demise of their original label Blacktalon Media, the album has, as Obsidian Records proudly state been, “re-pressed, re-packaged and re-released” again.
Having owned the album upon its first release, I can say that time has in no way diminished its impact because the songs sound as vicious as they did when I first heard them. For those new to Astriaal, they are a nefarious concoction of the best in the genre, but with a wickedness that is all their own. More importantly the playing is intense and melodic with a production that is very clear, yet the whole package is dripping in venomous spite. As a listener I can certainly appreciate that some artists want a raw production but the nuances and dynamics are often lost and to the Astriaal’s credit they gave their music the presentation it needed and truly deserved. Cuts such as ‘Ritual Hate Construct’, ‘Glories Of The Nightsky’ and ‘Reaper Of Dark Ages’ still sound fresh today and that’s simply a testament of the quality songwriting and talent on show. Tharen Dargaard, (ex-Abigor) adds his talent to the album by providing an introduction titled “The Funeral Procession” - further emphasising the quality and skill that Astriaal demand.
Being a re-release – the “Resurgence Edition MMVII”, no less, the CD now comes in a slipcase, with slightly altered artwork, a photo gallery and an enhanced video track for the song “Arborescence” which is great but I would have liked to have also had the studio cuts from the DECEPTION REVELATION EP. The EP preceded the original release of RENASCENT MISANTHROPY and the tracks “Millennia of Bloodshed” as well as the three songs that made up the ‘Revelations’ saga from the EP would have really enhanced this version as they really do belong together. I feel that it would have really encapsulated this stage of Astriaal’s creative career.
With that said, it’s time for Astriaal to rise from the underground and gain greater recognition for their efforts. News that the band will be recording a new album is very promising and something to look forward but in the mean time, if you are a fan of black metal, then do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of RENASCENT MISANTHROPY. You will not be disappointed.