Legions Of Astaroth
Rites Of Somatic Death
posted on 12/2009 By:
I'll be blunt here: Legions Of Astaroth is about as basic as black metal can get these days. Hailing from the rather unconventional locale of Atlanta, Georgia, there isn’t a whole lot of sophisticated southern hospitality being spread around by this shrieking trio, and these guys are no strangers to the scene. Drummer Amon, guitarist Occaxial, and bassist Baalxixras all share vocal duties, and two of them have been involved in Crimson Moon, Eyes Of Ligeia, and Demoncy, which makes me wonder how this project turned out to be so middle-of-the-road when taking their pedigree into consideration (as I am quite the Crimson Moon fan). Rites Of Somatic Death isn’t mediocre, but when it comes to raw yet atmospheric USBM, I was hoping for something with more of a char to the outside and a bloody middle, while this turned out to be cooked medium/well, with only scant traces of singe around the edges.
At 54+ minutes spread through eleven tracks, Rites…certainly doesn’t monotonously blast away and then leave once the bones have been picked clean. This sizable portion of soot-black metal often gives way to somewhat gritty thrash as well, utilizing some smartly plotted tempo shifts, and a plethora of terribly simple, nondescript tremolo riffs. I think that’s part of the reason for my nonplussed reaction to much of the material, because this isn’t lunkheaded, Cro-Magnon stuff, but there's also not a ton of vicious new bite here either. There’s an underlying shimmer to this album that isn’t necessarily elegant, since it still remains sturdily faithful to traditional black metal. The guitars are thin, but not fragile, the drum tones are strong and grounded, you can hear a bit of bass guitar without too much difficulty, and as far as production goes, there’s nothing to complain about at all. There’s just not a whole lot going on that inspires words or feelings, so for being so pedestrian, it’s still enjoyable, and throws out some impressive non-screechy vocal firepower. Picking out individual tracks to highlight is a total chore since Rites…sometimes comes across as one very long, sectioned piece of music with little to no variation in riffs with each successive tune, although “Wherein The Sacred Manifest” is quite excellent, and is the only song that really pops due to the well-structured dynamism it exudes.
You and I have both been through this before; desperately trying to describe something “decent.” If anything, Legions Of Astaroth is notable for avoiding the warmth of their American brothers, taking inspiration from their European counterparts in Sweden, specifically (Marduk/early Dark Funeral), even though I do hear a little bit of Absu, and Averse Sefira appear on occasion as well, along with smatterings of young Emperor in rare instances (“Nescience Conjoined To Self”). Rites…flows well, if nothing else, so as much of a challenge this is to review, it’s completely harmless to listen to, which is both a good and bad thing. So if you’re looking for something simple, yet not dumbed-down or painfully derivative, then you should definitely check this out, but if you’re seeking surprises or anything pushing the extremes of progression, intensity, or madness, just throw on some Deathspell Omega, and let your brain melt to that instead. Solid, but ordinary.
Register to post comments.