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Stargazer - Gloat/Borne

by Martin Knap at 11 February 2020, 4:42 PM

I have a confession to make that will cost me some Metal cred: I’ve purchased a band shirt of a band that I didn’t listen to – i.e. I bought it only because I liked the design – in the past. Shame on me. That band was STARGAZER, whose re-released demo and EP is the subject of this review. I’ve checked out STARGAZER later, of course, and discovered that they are a really original Australian Blackened-Death band with experimental of “avantgarde” leanings. They have a very original, recognizable sound and to me they really stand out among other Blackened-Death Metal bands. Two of their founding members – bassist and vocalist Damon Good and guitarist Denny Blake – are presently (or were formerly) also members of the iconic Funeral Doom band MOURNFUL CONGREGATION. “Gloat / Borne” is a re-issue of their first demo “Gloat” (1995), which had seven songs on it, and the first EP titled “Borne” (1996), which had two songs from the demo plus a brand new one (the fourth track is a short instrumental). There are two songs that weren’t released before (“Infernal” and “Final Winter’s Kiss”), or at least I wasn’t able to verify that they have been released. “Gloat / Borne” has ten songs on it, plus a short instrumental and an outro, there are two versions of the song “Ride the Everglade of Reogniroro” from the EP “Borne” (it didn’t appear on the demo), one sounds like a live recording and one like a proper studio recording.

As for the band’s sound, this early material is more straight-forward then their later releases, it’s mainly aggressive, thrashy Black Metal in the vein of SARCÓFAGO or IMPIETY, there are second wave Black Metal influences here for sure, but overall the songs have a bit more groove than, let’s say, DARKTHRONE. There are also very straight-forwardly Death Metal moments, sometimes it’s only a riff, but some of the song have overall a stronger Death Metal vibe. But even these more Death Metal sounding songs, such as “Abstract Flames Burn White,” have a very grim, “necro” vibe, which is associated with Black Metal. The aforementioned song also has an atmospheric, middle-section that sounds like straight-forward Black Metal. It’s this surprising way they mix different styles that makes STARGAZER such a cool and interesting band. My favorite cuts on the album are “Darkest Nether from the Solstice,” it’s more straight-forwardly Black Metal sounding song, it has a catchy, mid-tempo groove and cold, somber melodies – there are some really nice riffs and hooks in this song. “Ride the Everglade of Reogniroro” is an interesting one: it opens with a chuggy Death Metal riff, which sounds even more Death Metal because of the use of pinched harmonics (“squeelies”), the rest of the song has fast and aggressive Blackened-Death riffs. I love “Final Winter Kiss”: it’s the most blasty, DARKTHRONE-y sounding song and the riffs and the icy atmosphere are just great.

I wouldn’t recommend this release to someone who’s not already a fan of the band, also because the production of some of the songs is really raw, but fans of the band will certainly appreciate this release.

Memorability: 7
Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Conquer Perennial Fire
2. Totalitarian Wormholes
3. Conspirator's Wind
4. Interrestrial Black Twilights 02:4
5. Infernal
6. Ride the Everglade of Regniroro
7. Darkest Nether from the Solstice Pits
8. Abstract Flames Burn White
9. A Mist Falls
10. Ride the Everglade of Reogniroro
11. Final Winter Kiss
12. Outro
The Great Righteous Destroyer - Bass
The Serpent Inquisitor - Guitars, Vocals
Anunnaki - Guitar
Paul Murphy - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions


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Edited 01 October 2020

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