Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Astrum- Tales of Witchlore

The mighty Astrum is back again for their second full-length. They have been at it since 2000 and have released a slew of demos along with the full-length. Since their inception they have stuck to a similar style but expand on it and make it better with each release. Those familiar with the band know what to expect here, eleven tracks clocking in at near twenty nine minutes of riff oriented insanity.

As usual one of the major highlights on this record is the riffs. Catchy riffs are abundant on this album from start to finish. Sure, this isn't the most technical or unique thing ever put out but the playing style used here turns out to work well. The solos used here fit well with the songs and never seem out of place. The bass has a very bellowing tone and pounds furiously being the guitars. The combination packs a nice punch and makes this album excellent for a good ol' headbanging session.

This album also features Timpaler's signature vocal style. Those who have heard any of the previous Astrum or Kosmokrater releases know whether they like this style or not. For some reason it seems his vocals on this record are easier to digest than on previous releases, there is no major change in the approach but at first listen it seems like they may have a little less "snarl" in them.

As expected the vocals can be a make or break for some people, they work for me but are quite outlandish to say the least. Keep in mind even if Timpaler's pipes don't do it for you that this is a riff-driven album and the focus while listening is mainly given to that aspect of the album. This vocal approach also allows every single lyric used to be heard and understood clearly. The lyrical themes aren't mindblowing by any means, and at times on the cheesy side but they work. The production on the album is excellent for an independent release. The balance of all the instruments is nearly perfect for the style and has that very thick, deep sound. Every note can be made out from each member.

Overall you are going to get exactly what you expect out of the new Astrum release. Things have gotten a bit more solid for the band all around and the music is a tad more persistent. That being said, if you didn't dig their previous releases Tales of Witchlore most likely won't change your mind. So, if you are up for it kick back and let the "Master of Rock" throw some tasty riffs into your earhole.

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