|Album:||Degradation of Human Consciousness|
|Release Date:||29th of January, 2021|
|Released via||Blood Harvest Records|
|Cover Artwork ©||Astral Tomb, 2021|
A lot of people from the Death Metal community probably saw spotlight on Astral Tomb from Denver, Colorado when they found their spot on the notorious 4-way-split Chasm of Aeons with genre fellas Inoculation, Cryptic Shift and Replicant. This split was charged with Sci-Fi, space-induced Death Metal gaining a hard technical influence thus creating a swirling outer space tone. On this split, though, it became clear already that Astral Tomb can be regarded as somewhat of the bastard offspring of this subgenre of extraterrestrial Death Metal. While bands such as Cryptic Shift and Inoculation convince with a very Old School Death Metal sound that only takes slight influences from Technical Death Metal by spicing their songs up with fast and high-pitched riffs, Astral Tomb take a different direction.
If you want to compare the bands mentioned above with a rather sorted Sci-Fi universe such as Star Trek, you’d probably need to imagine Astral Tomb as a J.G. Ballard space story – nothing is where it is supposed to be and all of this happens deliberately. How come that this still works and can nevertheless be connected to the distinct style other bands from this sub-sub-genre play? This became evident when listening closer into Degradation of Human Consciousness.
The first and most striking aspect when listening into EP is the production that kind of hits your head before even having started with the music. This EP deliberately chooses a distinctly lo-fi production some even compared to a recording that sounds as if it was straight from the practice room. As a matter of fact, this was the aspect that drastically caught my attention, though. I really liked this bold move towards a primitive sound that also sets an immense spotlight on the shrieking guitars. These guitars are also the key point to connect the sound of Astral Tomb to the extraterrestrial Death Metal acts mentioned above – because the chaotic arpeggios, harmonics and high-pitched nuances that are played up and down right next to strong riffing constructs this diffuse atmosphere that also explains the title of the EP.
Because of that shrieking, inconvenient guitar playing the listener needs a few moments to actually find out that this music also has strong slam influences both on guitars and drums. The vocals roll on a very deep growling tone throughout the entire EP and the speed primarily remains within the range of mid-tempo blasts, sometimes even slowing it down almost to a halt. The slam especially comes across on the last track “Orbiting Fractals” – many times I don’t get into slam music too deeply because the production tends to sound very similar, but blasting slam on such a lo-fi level as on this EP is just fucking great.
Better get the tape that was released via Blood Harvest Records before it’s gone – I can’t wait for the full-length debut of this band to drop!