Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Astral Winter - Winter Enthroned (2011)

Astral Winter has taken black metal vocals and riffs and mixed them together with symphonic tones and guitar solos and drums that have power metal speed. The band has just released their new album, entitled “Winter Enthroned.” It’s got demonic growls and heavily distorted guitars mixed with beautiful piano riffs and shredding guitar solos.

“Prologue” is a minute and a half intro that opens with thunder sound effects giving off an image of a dark cold night. Dark strings fade in slowly along with an acoustic guitar. The music builds up as the string go higher in octave. Soon after come distorted guitars all playing the same catchy little tune. This immediately runs right into the second track, entitled “Illustrations Of Death.” You’re hit with an loud and haunting growl that echo throughout the beginning of the song. This is accompanied by fast distorted guitar riffs playing rapid melodic notes. After running into such a rush of instruments, things calm down before the first verse is introduced. Acoustic guitars are combined with the distorted guitar as more eerie thunder sound effects rattle in the background. When the verse drops, wicked demonic growling comes flying in along with blaring guitar riffs and booming drum rolls. The tempo picks up with violent speeds as you are knocked down by the relentless vocals. You are then met with a wild guitar solo that plays for a good proportion of the song. This solo is all over the place with its quick notes that rapidly slow down in certain parts and then pick right back up again. The melody is at a constant change with tons of different catchy riffs. This is definitely the way to open up an album!

Get ready for some more high energy and thunderous beats with “Through Timeless Aeons Of Frost.” This eight and a half masterpiece starts with gorgeous piano riffs that is surrounded by uplifting strings. The vocals tear you apart with the opening growl thrown right in your face along with monstrous guitars and exploding drum fills. Pay attention to the many drum patterns in this song and the quick double bass pedal action in between. The verses are separated by a catchy piano riff that is repeated by destructive guitars while more double bass destroys the background. “Defenders Of The Astral Kingdom” runs for over 10 minutes long and also includes lots of epic piano riffs that will get stuck in your head for days. The guitar solos in these songs are phenomenal as they run up and down the scales with crashing cymbals and thumping kicks behind them. Soothing strings build up around the guitars completely surrounding you with a beautiful sound. The last five minutes really pick up with the drumming. The fills in between each riff is incredible and full of detail. This will have you pumping you fists in no time.

You’re attacked with violent guitar riffs again and again in the beginning of “Beyond These Frozen Castle Walls.” The verses kick right in with harsh growls that pound away at you while the strings lift you up just to get knocked down again. The chorus has an interesting mix of growls and clean singing vocals layered together keeping the music heavy and catchy with its clear melodies. At this point, guitars a going wild with notes flying all over the place during the solo. Meanwhile the drums are going insane with fills and double bass pedals at high speed. You’re gonna want to listen closely a few times to catch everything closely.

The last full song on the album is “Past The Realms Of Eternal Ice” which starts out quiet with soft strings slowly fading in the beginning. You’re soon hit with double bass action and a monstrous growl. The distorted guitars blast away as they lead you right into the verse. Dark and vicious vocals take over with anger and hatred. You can really feel the passion in the vocal performance. After 9 and a half minutes of pure destruction you then come across the minute and a half “Epilogue” with closes up the album with angelic acoustic guitar riffs layered with some distorted solos at the end.

With solid recording quality and clear delivery, Astral Winter shows a fantastic performance with “Winter Enthroned.” It’s definitely got that beauty and beast type of feel with all the different mixtures of soft acoustic guitars and harsh distorted guitars. And the vocals were right on par with their aggressiveness and evilness. Definitely give this album a shot!


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