Swedes Astrophobos smother black metal with violence, dark chaos on EP ‘Enthroned in Flesh’

AstrophobosNearing the end of the week, it’s getting exhausting taking on all of the stuff we have going on. Getting to the point seems like a really good idea, and the new EP from Swedish black metal horse Astrophobos does exactly that.

Following up their great 2014 debut album “Remnants of Forgotten Horrors,” they lace into these four tracks on “Enthroned in Flesh” with reckless abandon, sharpened teeth exposed, and them looking to set the battlefield for permanent massacre. What they do isn’t terribly flashy, though it’s very well played, and they don’t piss around noodling and stretching songs well past where they should go. This is lean and mean, heavy and dangerous, and really great sounding black metal. There aren’t new rules written for the genre or anything, and it’s not going to pull black metal into a new direction, but there’s no reason Astrophobos need to do that. Instead, the band—vocalist/bassist Mikael Broman, guitarists Jonas Ehlin and Martin Andersson (session drummer Fredrik Widigs from Marduk handled duties on the recording)—keeps things bloody and raw, following similar paths as bands such as Dissection and the earlier years of Watain.

Astrophobos coverThe title track tears the lid off this thing, with riffs spiraling and monstrous growls pounding you. The pace absolutely crushes, though a nice dose of melody is intertwined, as Broman howls, “A world that falls to plunder, and death will come alive.” It’s a fairly quick cut, but one that does ample damage while it hangs around. “Tabula Rasa” has guitars cutting through and creakier growls, leading into a speedy, thrashy arrangement that gets the juices flowing. Humid guitars eventually set in and make breathing a little thicker, while Broman wails, “Burn all life to cinder dust,” as the track bleeds out in a wave of feedback. “Blood Libation” gets off to a thunderous start, with the riffs charging and Broman’s words practically being barked. It bends into added crunchy thrash terrain, while the leads burn brightly enough to make you shield your eyes, and the crushing assault keeps hammering at you right up until the abrupt end. Closer “The Cadaver Monarch” runs 8:21, and it’s the one that earns the Watain comparisons, as they push out a horrifying storyteller that reeks of bloodshed and flesh. As the song goes on, the pace kicks into high gear, with the words flying out of Broman’s mouth in menacing style and the playing clubbing. Melodies again are a fixture, mixing themselves into the chaos, while the growls sometimes take on a talky tone, likely to hammer home to plot that much better. Then, a final wave of guitars melts everything in front of it, sending a poisonous tributary of filth to poison whatever waters it contacts.

Astrophobos sound vicious and alive on “Enthroned in Flesh,” a release that’s certainly tiding us over until they smash our fingers again with record two. This is raw, yet melodic black metal that never pretends to be anything it isn’t and always sounds like it’s crushing the Earth’s crust. Anyone looking for something tried and true that chokes black metal exhaust certainly will find a lot of like on these four smashers.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.astrophobos.com/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.triumviraterecords.com/releases.html

For more on the label, go here: http://www.triumviraterecords.com/

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