Released: Febr, Tridroid Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
The land of freedom masters a lot of good metal, but the most interesting and ground-breaking black metal rarely comes from America. Astral Blood from Minneapolis is a stand out exception. This might not be the most original black metal ever heard and the band might wear the influences on their sleeves for everyone to notice (i.e. the band´s name quite possibly is influenced by Wolves In The Throne Room´s track “Astral Blood”). The band is balancing between powerful black metal acts such as Wolves In The Throne and Emperor, but none the less Astral Blood delivers a pure product worthy of their inspirations.
First track is so powerful, melancholic and melodic yet extreme without sounding neither too pure nor clean or too raw. This is so well produced with layers each adding volume, power and melody, making the extreme metal a beautiful and melodic blend.
Second track, “Interlude”, is a piano piece accompanied by a female speaking voice only to be taken over by guitar and a chilling choir as background. It marks a gap between the first and the third song which actually is quite refreshing even though the song never really hits a high point.
The third and final track, “Our Almighty Gaze”, is not as good as the EP´s first track, but continues the same path.
If Astral Blood keeps up the standard on their next release it can only go uphill as this is one of the most refreshing releases I have heard in a long time. What the band proves here in only three songs might not be originality, but it show a band with ability to deliver a stable product.
By Ellen Norvang