Rating:
5.5
M-81 - Astral Pilgrimage
15 September 2012


01. Astral I
02. Astral II
03. Astral III
04. Astral IV


Metal Storm user Oaken (or Oaken Bough as he styles himself on Bandcamp) brings us his debut stab at atmospheric/ambient black metal. Now, without wishing to embarrass anyone, we have all seen and heard the results of a previous effort by a fresh-faced and youthful member of the MS community. Let me assuage any fears of a repeat performance with M-81.

Astral Pilgrimage is, at least, a genuinely competent slab of droning, buzzing quasi-black metal. I say quasi-black, because the focus here is stacked heavily in favour of atmosphere and ambience rather than towards your classic rusty buzz-saw guitar assault. After intro "Astral I", which is little more than a snippet of space-launch radio chatter followed by a short burst of noise, "Astral II" gets the core of the record going. Replete with swirling white noise, distant, echoing percussion and occasional slivers of guitar, "II" has just about enough about it to keep you interested for most of its 9-minute duration.

Where Astral Pilgrimage falls apart at the seams a little is that Astrals "III" & "IV" don't bring much unexpected outside of "Astral II"s template. There is a little more substance to the guitar on "Astral III", combined with some well-placed sound effects. Ultimately though, some of the space-shuttle talk is at times more engaging than the music itself, and the middle of the track is a bit too ambient for its own good, before resolving into a slightly aimless, meandering conclusion.

There are some elements of Astral Pilgrimage which show real potential. The carefully doled out guitar licks of "II" & "III"; the progression in the dying seconds of "III"; the more driving, brooding entrance of "Astral IV" - which is undoubtedly the standout moment. Some of the ideas here could really stand a little more development to make a more interesting record, and there is the odd rough edge to the editing and production, but given the circumstances in which this was conceived, written and recorded, this is a reasonable listen.

Performance: 6
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 5


 


written by LordFezzington | 22.12.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Oaken - 27.12.2012 at 22:11  
Thanks a million!!! Bring on teh bashing!
LordFezzington - 01.01.2013 at 23:30  
Very surprised at the absence of comments on this, given the furor over BoxCar's release!
I obviously wasn't controversial enough with the review!
!J.O.O.E.! - 02.01.2013 at 00:57  
Definitely a lot of potential here. It's just lacking a certain something to give it that added depth, but I can quite easily enjoy this.

Dunno if this is the kind of sound you want to go for but perhaps you could take a few pointers from Hiemal (that's a bandcamp link by the way) who I happen to think are rather exemplary in the spacey-sounding black metal category.
mz - 26.05.2013 at 12:33  
Are you planning to release future tacks (if any) as "astral V", "astral "VI",...? it would be cool I think and "darkspace"ish considering your seemingly astral and spacy BM path
Should check this out asap
Oaken - 30.05.2013 at 21:33  
Written by mz on 26.05.2013 at 12:33

Are you planning to release future tacks (if any) as "astral V", "astral "VI",...? it would be cool I think and "darkspace"ish considering your seemingly astral and spacy BM path
Should check this out asap

A new single will be released in a month or two. It's tentatively titled "Cosmic Ritual". It'll be quite similar to Darkspace.
mz - 31.05.2013 at 11:42  
Written by Oaken on 30.05.2013 at 21:33

Written by mz on 26.05.2013 at 12:33

Are you planning to release future tacks (if any) as "astral V", "astral "VI",...? it would be cool I think and "darkspace"ish considering your seemingly astral and spacy BM path
Should check this out asap

A new single will be released in a month or two. It's tentatively titled "Cosmic Ritual". It'll be quite similar to Darkspace.


Glad to hear that. It is actally very impresssive that you are brave enough to pull out our musical ideas (especially considering the fact tha your project would probably be compared to astral jaguarnats which are darkspace). wish you the luck aand waiting to hear your single
Oaken - 29.06.2013 at 04:58  
http://m-81.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-ritual New single.
3boude - 29.06.2013 at 15:31  
Hey oaken fggt guess who am I

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