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Epta Astera - Feste Burg

Epta Astera
Feste Burg
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 07 October 2019, 3:49 AM

 EPTA ASTERA is a Gregorian Folk Metal band that celebrates the aesthetic heritage of the Occident by fusing the contemplative dignity of polyphonic chant with the cathartic intensity of Atmospheric Metal. In other words, this must be a pretty interesting album. I could not find much information on the band, so let’s dive into this eight-track album and see what it is all about.

“Salve Regina” leads us off. Some light chanting over a bed of background ambiance, reminding me of the Dwarven songs in The Hobbit. “Noche Oscura” is much longer…clocking in at close to ten minutes. The slow and sorrowful drone of instruments make a majestic mark on the listener, and the vocals join in purposefully. The harmonies are delicate and charming. The dirty Black Metal vocals really add some aggressive depth to the lovely melodies. At one point the melodies become jovial; almost alive. “Metanoia” opens with delicate bells and dual harmonic vocals. The addition of lead guitar notes is something unexpected when it comes to the music, but that droning chanting is really something quite beautiful.

“Aletheia” features more of those harsh vocals and less of the chanting. Some spacey keyboards come into play as well, along with recorder. The Folky elements really come through nicely here. “Exsurge Domine” features some acoustical guitars in the opening, and then it leads to some slow and easy sounds as the vocals melt around you. The final minute, it all seems to come together in a more traditional sound structure. “Ich Kann Nicth Anders” is a much shorter track of just a-cappella vocals done with power and might. The lower ranges are simply beautiful, almost like a choir in church singing a doleful but also hopeful sounding song. The harmonies are on point.

“Die Mordichen und Reubischen Rotten der Barwen” is a seven-minute beast, opening with what sounds like simulated oboe. The screams leave no doubt that this is a more intensely sorrowful song. “Augsburg” closes the album; the longest song at just over ten minutes. It opens with some low Gregorian chants and a slow musical drone. It turns dark just before the half-way mark and then the sound drops to just simple acoustical guitar notes. Suddenly, harsh vocals cover the lands with a sickening darkness. It ends on a depressing note. Overall, I was impressed with both the integrity of the album as well as its ability to experiment a little. I don’t know who the vocalist is, but he has structured a very well-done set of traditional chanting among the Folk Metal backdrop. The harsh vocals are what makes this Metal. I have to say, this was quite alluring overall, and I think any fans of Folk Metal and even Black Metal will find this to their liking.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Salve Regina
2. Noche Oscura
3. Metanoia
4. Aletheia
5. Exsurge Domine
6. Ich Kann Nicht Anders
7. Die Mordichen und Reubischen Rotten der Barwen
8. Augsburg
Record Label: Mourning Light Records


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