Blaze of Sorrow - Astri
Atmospheric Black Metal
8 songs (45' 50")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Andy

Blaze of Sorrow, first introduced to me via one of their Sun and Moon Records albums, is one of those quietly brilliant black metal groups whose releases don't ever constitute a major event, but always come as a pleasant surprise for those in the know. Following the band's return to black metal in the form of Eremita del Fuoco, the band continues with an emotional but harsh offering in the form of Astri.

Though having always been influenced by neofolk, the band takes a middle ground in this one, where Rotting Christ-style guitar crunching melds with slower, introspective picking. Just as in previous albums, screaming tremolo picking and harsh vocals such as those found on Andromeda might be heavy, but they don't feel dark -- the songs aren't a death march across a frozen wasteland so much as a wandering stroll through a sunny garden. But then, Blaze of Sorrow would lose a lot of what makes them so good if they were a pure black metal band; the hybrid of neofolk strumming, softer passages mixed in with black metal roughness, done by with guitars and keyboards but with some traditional folk instruments mixed in from time to time, has always been the most intriguing part of their sound.

They accomplish this well. Emptio, which would be a rather dreary ballad most of the time if made into a true folk song, is a warmly-accented sonic journey with the band's black metal touch, and they're even willing to speed up to a more aggressive sound on the fast-paced guitar blasts of Io, Nessunu -- at least for a little while. Even better are the instrumentals, which are regrettably short. Blaze of Sorrow's atmospheric abilities shine on these wordless little ditties, making Il Ballo Silvestre and Bruma the icing on the cake.

Astri continues the Blaze of Sorrow style of complex atmospheres that are emotionally uplifting without Peter, the vocalist and jack-of-all-trades-except-the-drums, ever uttering a clean vocal line. If the idea of a warmer sound in your black metal disturbs you, stay away, but a lot of ABM fans will enjoy this one.

Killing Songs :
Emptio, Io, Nessunu, and the two instrumentals
Andy quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Blaze of Sorrow that we have reviewed:
Blaze of Sorrow - Eremita del Fuoco reviewed by Andy and quoted 85 / 100
Blaze of Sorrow - Fulgida Reminescenza reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
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