Astralborne – “Eternity’s End” (Prosthetic Records)
Self released late last year, Astralborne have since been signed and their label has done the right thing in reissuing this sterling debut, because it certainly is a gem to be bedazzled by! Featuring Jayson Cessna (drums) and Derik Smith (guitars), both of Hammer Horde, and Paul Fuzinski (bass, vocals) of Blood Of The Prophets, this Ohio trio play melodic death metal with the emphasis on the melody, drawing hugely from Sweden and especially bands like At The Gates and Mithotyn. On the 11 tracks here, including a cover of Priest’s ‘Hell Patrol’, Astralborne prove their worth many times over with superior composing embracing epic and emotional depth throughout, and carried by the maturity of their musicianship sees them confidently balance brutality with unashamed beauty on “Eternity’s End”. Wailing in with exquisite melodies on ‘Attending The Funeral’, the contrast to the heavy chopping riffs and Fuzinski’s guttural growls couldn’t be greater, but as the song gallops on, you can’t but help be caught up in the melodic majesty bringing a strong regal tone to this epic song that despite its somber title, is anything but that as it soars soulfully into your heart, especially after Smith unleashes his even speedier solo which is even more richly melodic – wow! Brutally chundering in on ‘The Obliterators’ with hyperspeed riffing and powering drums contrasting Fuzinski’s roaring and bass twanging, it’s again the dancing melodies from Smith that are tastefully laid atop the furor with its fast twists and turns making this a very exciting but also highly enticing number through its incredible musicianship. In an uncompromising tribute to melodeath’s forefathers, the 12 minute ‘Eternity’s End’ does precisely that right from its grand 90s epic sound incorporating heaps of tasty Scandinavian melodies that dance and weave incessantly, accompanied by chopping rhythms occasionally blast beating to the contrast of flamenco guitars and all capped off brilliantly by Fuzinski’s dry, hoarse vocals authentic to that era – truly superb. I’ll tell ya man, I’m so glad these guys are signed, cos they are worth every penny!