Stargazer need no introduction to you avant-garde black/death metal maniacs. They’ve released several demos, EP and three full-lengths in their career spanning nine years or so. You probably won’t hear me going off about how brutal or how fast they play. To begin with, listeners can’t get high off the same shit for weeks on end. You can add some variety to your playlist by checking these serious musicians out before buying another shitload of CDs that all sound like one thing: same-ish.
Stargazer uses some very melodic sections to space out their compositions on their latest full-length, A Merging To The Boundless, this time coming via Nuclear War Now Productions. The name Stargazer is apt, as I find that some of their guitar work on the ambient sections conjure a little Pink Floyd here and there. They change the tempos though, so don’t think this is gonna be one hell of an acid trip. Some of the songs have an epic quality, as Stargazer do a nice job of mixing some prog with ambient and avant-garde styles. The vocals diversify as well, going from black metal screams to guttural growling. Take this on a roadtrip at twelve midnight and stare at the stars.
The drumming here is impressive, as they anchor the songs with hi-hat and tom hits that remind me of Atheist. The drummer doesn’t do drum solos or shit, but watch him put some jazz fusion with the rung notes and you’ve got yourself a performance that mags like Modern Drummer continue to diss with features on Chris Adler and the like. The guitars are placed up-front in the mix, and the riffs vary greatly. The guitarist conjures up some nice seventies rock and blues on occasion. A highlight track is the instrumental, “The Grand Equalizer,” as the bassist unleashes one hell of a bass solo while everything slows down to give him the stage. Another highlight is the track “An Earth Rides It’s Endless Carousel,” with all the members of the band getting in on the jam.
This is quality metal using a mix of extreme metal styles with classic rock , prog and ambient elements to distinguish themselves from hordes of bands. The first tracks come replete with blasts and shreds, but don’t expect that to turn into some done-too-many-times one trick pony. This is outerspace metal for those too jaded to hear “Enter Sandman” one more fucking time!
It’s a good jam for a treat of something different. The production is dead-on seventies analog even in digital form. The riffs aren’t black metal cliché, even if the rung notes are there; the melodic sections aren’t all about solos, as the guitarist uses some upper fret chords and prefers to play them at a slower pace. Dudes, listen to this album before giving it a miss. I don’t think you’ll hit on a must-hear band if you do your EOY shopping in FYE. The performances are top-notch on every song. Also, bassists need to pay attention to Stargazer, as most bassists follow the riffs and render themselves irrelevant to most metal albums. Seriously, if you play an instrument and love all things avant-garde and progressive, you’ll love everything Stargazer do on this album.