Astrayed - Dethtime Stories
Self released
Melodic Death Metal
4 songs (19'09")
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Alex

It often amazes me that many of the unsigned bands who send us their demos for review are very persistent and have to overcome a number of obstacles. Astrayed from Finnish city Joensuu, which also gave us Insomnium, have started when they were teenagers and have been at it for five years. Recent events had bandmembers go through their mandatory duty in Finnish Defense Forces and caused the period of hiatus and inactivity. Dethtime Stories demo is intended to remind the world that Astrayed is still alive, and also to showcase their development, mostly in the vocal department.

Just like any self-respected Finnish melodic death collective, Astrayed know how to combine melody and melancholy. Relatively mid-pace opener Sorrow Meets with Misery collides spoken quiet passages with double bass driven melodic swells. You are to decide what is Sorrow and what is Misery, but the end result is very palatable, and per band’s own admission Insomnium influenced. The melody does rend the heart open with an abrading wheel and that is what counts.

My Inner Conversation and Life (Balance of Things) tend to be quite more aggressive, the band’s machine drumming becoming a lot more incessant, Astrayed locking into a groove, which sounds both more modern in terms of style and less authentic as far as feeling is concerned. The singer Teemu Rautiainen went through a serious throat infection in 2006, so in addition to higher pitch screaming he does a lot of very low timbre growling, whispers and clean singing. Whatever helps to lighten the load, I guess. The growl rumbles appear to be very high in the mix and tend to take over the music. On the other hand, his clean singing in Life (Balance of Things) is slightly off tone, with a very obvious folk twist. The closer Ruttoperkele! even more apparently relies on Finnish native motives and with some acoustic interludes does bring Norther to mind.

With the production being practically a home computer, I need to give this demo a “no quote” pass. There is simply not enough here to proclaim the next coming of a great Finnish melodeath band. The ideas are evident, but Dethtime Stories is more of an outline, the series of sketches, than the complete picture. Just like the cover is in black-and-white, the full length needs more color, not to mention the proper studio recording. Best of luck!

(Oh, in their likes/dislikes on the site, a few band members mention USA and USA/Bush among the dislikes. The two are, very fortunately, not one and the same and hopefully things will change in a few months. The Finnish bands I met here in the US on tour, Insomnium and Swallow the Sun, enjoyed the welcome and crowds tremendously. I wish Astrayed has a chance to tour on this side of the pond someday to learn about the US metal fans, and people in general, firsthand.)

Killing Songs :
Sorrow Meets with Misery
Alex quoted no quote
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