Saturday, December 20, 2014

StarGazer: " A Merging to the Boundless"

Apparently Australian metal is a big deal. Apparently when it comes to Australian metal Star Gazer is a big deal. So we have a big deal with in a big deal. That makes this album have a lot to live up to. I kept hearing these guys called progressive death metal, but from the opening track it's almost as primitive as anything else aside from some shifting time changes that aren't giving King Crimson a run for their money."Old Tea" takes a darker more melodic turn. The drumming shows off enough to catch my attention and their bassist has more than his fair share of chops as he wanders around the neck.

Is it a  coincidence that the vocals use a gravelly tone similar to the one King Diamond employs on a song about tea? Some Emperor like clean vocals even appear on this song, after it had already won me over, though at this juncture I am still skeptical about the album as a whole. Things continue to take a more melodic direction on "Earth Rides it's Endless Carous" . It does find a more thrash like groove, that weaves into something more along the lines of old Pain Of Salvation. So these are are first moments I would really label progressive. vocally there is an interesting moment where they vocal are somewhat sung somewhat growled.There is a more traditional death metal sound to the title track that recalls Morbid Angel. This gives way to the more melodic "the Great Equalizer" that blends many of the elements that the band seems to be best at. They use the more progressive elements and set them against death metal in a manner than reminds me of what Sigh once did with black metal.

Guitar players will want to take note of these guys . as they give no quarter to shredding. The 11 minutes of "Great Equalizer' show case their shredding as much as it does there sense of composition and dynamics. When the clean guitar comes it doesn't feel like they are milking the Opeth formula.They return to the heavier death metal feel on the next song, though still flirt with more rock trappings when it comes to some of the showy playing. These guys are not bound to long epics despite the rapid twists and turns they take you on, they can give similar treatment to a four minute song as they do a ten minute epic. Sometimes the delivery feels a little like Coroner in places, but with a less thrash angle and obviously more deathly leanings. With death metal, it has to be a very careful balance, this album doesn't really feel evil to me, but if you are just a fan of the genre, then round it up from the 7.5 I'm giving this one.  

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