This month sees the reissue via Negative Existence of the second studio album from Ukrainian black metalers Astrofaes. The 1998 album, Dying Emotions Domain first appeared on Oriana Productions in MC format reinforcing the concept the band fuelled all their music with. Formed in 1996 Astrofaes were devout in the aim of resurrecting of the Spirit of Slavonic Lands, sounds soaked in and reviving the pride, honour and blood of their ancestors. Their thick atmospheric black metal sounds has over the bands fifteen years and seven albums , early demos and a 2008 EP, forged a deep respect and eager following, the dark essences and melodic and heavy interplay with a forceful black original vein throbbing within, bringing more and more ears and acclaim their way.
Dying Emotions Domain has eight heavily emotive tracks with the representation and imagery of nature’s might and the mystery of the everlasting universe running through them, their songs carrying an ambience and certain melodic aura that is distinct from the Scandinavian black metal sounds, the band bringing elements which sit between the heavy oppressiveness from elsewhere and the toned melodies of the likes of Arkona. The band at the time of Dying Emotions Domain were the founding duo of Thurios (Drudkh, Hate Forest, Blood of Kingu) and Khorus (Khors) who expanded the band at this period, the members coming together to create a release that stands the years as a strong and firmly creative collection of sounds and passion.
The tracks on the album are all powerful in noise and touch as the band brings forth an ancestry and traditional black blend that shows why the subsequent years has despite lacking a set label support, brought such strong respect and praise to the band. The album opens on an absorbing short instrumental in ‘The Black Woods Theory ‘, the piece combining beauty, melodies and a dark ominous tone. This leads into the ferocious intensity of ‘Fiery Mysticism’, complete with stalking riffs, expanding waves of heinous intent, and sinful waves of keys and melodies exploring behind. As does the album as a whole, the song has a caliginous atmosphere and sense, teasing and taunting as it brings its full impact hard upon the senses.
The tracks do have a similarity to them in attack but with a lusty variety within their thoughts and sounds as with tracks like ‘At Nightfall’ with a sweeping crushing wall of sound that fills every pore and ‘Path To Burning Space’ with its folk layered haunting and progressive touching moments, the latter of the two a track that shines more and more with repeat plays. Both are equally direct and intense, their power formidable but brought by different ways and inspired sounds.
Each track grabs attention with quality, songs like the almost awkwardly varied ‘Ad Infinitum (Dark II)’ which takes detours to wrong foot and intrigue, the rampaging ‘Necromantical Screams’, and the piano splendour of closing instrumental of ‘A Song of the Night Birds’, all leaving one wanting more. At times the music and intensity overwhelms the vocals and the drums could be less hollow but even with these gripes there is nothing to distract from the quality and satisfaction the album gives.
Dying Emotions Domain is a great introduction to Astrofaes for those new to their music and a definite must hear for fans acquired since of the earlier times of the band from when this album first showed its wares.