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Stellar Death – Sentient (Chapter 1)

Stellar Death
Sentient (Chapter 1)
by Savely Nevzorov at 16 June 2022, 7:35 AM

STELLAR DEATH is a Washington, D.C.-based Post-rock/Post-metal duo. The tag “Post-Metal” perhaps is a little misleading here as the metal part of this music lies far from repetitive mid-tempo grooves and hypnotizing guitar patterns. STELLAR DEATH’s new EP “Sentinel (Chapter 1)” showcases a fascinating mix of the cinematic epicness of Post-rock with the aggressive pressure of Death Metal. It does not make their music fall into the category of Post-Death Metal bands as ULCERATE or later GORGUTS releases. Although, STELLAR DEATH prefers to stay on the Post-rock side of things with a more significant emphasis on exciting, new sound textures and atmosphere.

Typically for the genre, STELLAR DEATH prefers to play without a singer. It’s always a puzzle to create a good and interesting composition without the help of vocals. At the end of the day, singing is pleasant to the human ear. It can sound highly versatile, and you can sing along with it. So, instrumental music is always a bit of a challenge to make it sound interesting for the listener without utilizing one of the most incredible available instruments. Nevertheless, “Sentinel (Chapter 1)” delivers more than enough creativity to maintain interest throughout the entire listening session. After all, the abrupt ending of this 20-minute-long EP makes you wish Chapter 2 were already out.

As mentioned above, STELLAR DEATH doesn’t hesitate to draw inspiration from Death Metal. The first chords of the opening track, “Emergence,” set the overall tone for the entire record. These are passages impregnated with Melodic Death Metal shrouded in airy tremolos, moving synth parts, and interesting guitar soloing. The second track, “I am,” seems to sound more like classic MDM at first. Only to fall into the sea of atmospheric ambient in the middle section and then rise for a climactic ending. The closing track, “Capacity to Suffer,” is the only song on the record that begins in a more Post-metal-ish way but later naturally evolves into this brand kind of eclectics STELLAR DEATH manages to produce. All this splendor is fueled by excellent sound and mastering. The only remark, perhaps, is the highly plastic sound of the drums. It would be interesting to listen to this band with a good “live” drummer. That said, I know that some people prefer this sound and like its aesthetics, etc.

STELLAR DEATH manages to surprise and keep you entertained, even without any vocals involved. Its perplexing structures, dreamy echoes, and heavy nature make “Sentinel (Chapter 1)” a record to return to. Its short duration is compensated by genuine hopes to hear the continuation one day. This record sets some hype for the sequel, which counts for something.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Emergence
2. I am
3. Capacity to Suffer
Matt Kozar - Guitars, Keys, Drum programming
Scott Loose - Guitars, Bass, Keys, Drum programming
Record Label: Independent


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