Saturday, January 21, 2012

Astrofaes - Dying Emotions Domain

Astrofaes
Dying Emotions Domain
Negative Existence

The Ukraine doesn’t exactly boast the biggest metal scene, but they have one nonetheless. And while their scene hasn’t produced any acts that have gone on to become household names, there’s plenty that have made an impression within the underground scene. One band that’s enjoyed considerable critical acclaim from the cult underground scene is Kharkiv based act black metal Astrofaes, who have over their thirteen years in existence, produced no less than seven full-length albums, an E.P. and a live D.V.D.
While the band busy themselves with a new Astrofaes release (Alongside immersing themselves in their various side projects), U.S. label Negative Existence have managed to fill the void of inactivity with the long overdue re-release of the band’s second full-length effort ‘Dying Emotions Domain’.
Originally released on cassette through Oriana Productions way back in 1998, and later released on C.D. through the French label Chanteloup Creations in 2001 (Which was just prior to the label closing their doors), ‘Dying Emotions Domain’ has long been out of print, and highly sought after by black metal collectors the world over. But with this re-release from Negative Existence, Astrofaes’ hard to find second album has been resurrected for all to rediscover.
Sound wise, Astrofaes (Who at the time comprised of vocalist Dalver, guitarist Thurios, bassist Khorus, guest keyboardist Saturious and drummer Khaoth) are primarily labelled as a black metal band. But the truth is that while there’s no mistaking the band’s lo-fi, bleak black metal stance, there’s no mistaking the progressive elements within the band’s song writing as well, with the band showcasing on several levels their willingness to experiment and push their take on the black metal sound.
After a brief keyboard/sound effects based introductory piece (‘The Black Woods Theory’), the band get the album underway in a fast and aggressive manner with ‘Fiery Mysticism’. Despite running for a little over nine minutes, the song itself keeps the listener engaged throughout, with the band incorporating plenty of diverse riffs and tempo changes to keep things varied, while the use of keyboards and eerie soundscapes in the quitter moments allow the band to utilise atmospherics to emphasise their progressive sides to great effect.
Following in a similar direction to that of ‘Fiery Mysticism’ are tracks such as ‘At Nightfall’ and the title track ‘Dying Emotions Domain’, while the band’s cover of Celtic Frost’s ‘Necromantical Screams’ (From 1985’s ‘To Mega Therion’) is a little more straight forward black metal, but fits well with the other material.
Two tracks that definitely stand apart from the pack are ‘Path To Burning Space’ and ‘Ad Infinitum (Dark II)’. On the former, the band head along an unconventional path with the saxophone (Provided by V. Stavropolskiy) giving the song a bit of a Viking feel, while the latter features a very upfront keyboard mix on the introduction - something altogether different and unusual sounding.
Despite claims made about the album’s recent remaster, the sound on this C.D. re-release sounds like it was lifted straight from a cassette that was in excellent condition. But despite this, the lavish packaging and the quality of the songs throughout really do make ‘Dying Emotions Domain’ worthy of hunting down.

For more information on Astrofaes, check out - http://www.astrofaes.com/

© Justin Donnelly