Friday, February 4, 2011

Metal Reviews: Astrum - Shadows of the Past

Band: Astrum
Album: Shadows of the Past
Year: 2010
Genre: Punk/Thrash

Astrum is extremely low-fi. In fact the band probably puts most others to shame, y'know those black metal bands who purposely use bad production to make the music sound more raw? If there was a contest to see who could make the rawest most primitive production Astrum would win.

Ok so the production is very black metal, the vocals are punk(ish) and the music itself is also pretty punky. Lets be honest, the riffs don't sound all that different throughout the album but every song still has me bobbing my head to the riffs. Especially with Mighty Swords of Thunder, the main riff is just catchy. Astrum write riffs that usually sound the same and are quite simple but they have a charm to them that makes it a little enjoyable. Its funny the production sounds better on some songs than others, Out of the Fog has a better guitar sound than some of the other songs but it is overall pretty fuzzy sounding.

And the drumming is usually pretty simply played as well which kind of fits with what the rest of the band is doing. The mixing is a little off as well, the drums are quite a ways back in the mix and there is little to no bass that is noticeable. For the drums a song where they actually pop out at times higher into the mix is the last song Victory of Doom. The drummer also has a little trouble keeping time with the guitars. Some songs it just seems like he is playing too quickly like in Nocturnal Damnation while in Mighty Swords of Thunder they feel too slow.

There are some keys or electronic effects thrown in on On Starless Night and it gives off almost an old school horror film vibe. Once again the riffs within this song are nothing special but they are nice addition to the song that adds atmosphere.

This album sounds muddy, dirty, and the mixing isn't really the best. The musicianship is also lacking as well. There are solos but considering what I usually listen to I'm not really impressed. Even still, like I said earlier, Shadows of the Past has some charm to it that doesn't make it a total let down. The riffs while simple are catchy enough and the vocals probably wont offend anyone. If you are into primitive punk/thrash with black metal tendencies in the production this is for you, if that doesn't sound appealing I would probably move on to something else. Wanting a raw sound is perfectly fine, but when it actually takes away from the music it stops being a pro and becomes a con which will be the case here for most people.

Score: 5/10
Standout Track: On Starless Night

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