StarGazer - Psychic Secretions review


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Band: StarGazer
Album: Psychic Secretions
Release date: February 2021

01. Simulacrum
02. Lash Of The Tyrants
03. Evil Olde Sol
04. Star Vassal
05. Hooves
06. The Occidental Scourge
07. All Knowing Cold
08. Pilgrimage

It seems it ain't just the newcomers who can come up with fantastic progressive death metal albums.

I recently reviewed the new Mefitis album, a band you could call up-and-coming despite having more than 10 years under their belt. Normally I wouldn't want to review two albums of the same genre side by side, since I end up comparing the two too much. But StarGazer go quite a long way, being part of the scene for more than 25 years. Despite that, they've only released four full length albums, though there have been just enough demos, EPs and splits to fill up the space too. But you can kind of guess that a new StarGazer full length should be a pretty big deal, since the last one was 2014's A Merging To The Boundless, partly because the two main band members have a shitload of other projects (most prolific being both of their presences in Cauldron Black Ram).

And one of the things that surprised me the most about Psychic Secretions, which I have to admit was the first StarGazer album I listened to, was the bass playing. The entire album is pretty progressive in nature, but out of all its elements, it is the bass playing that is the most in-your-face progressive. And then I realized that it is the same bass player that performed on VoidCeremony's debut, another album I reviewed and which had the bass playing being my favorite element of it. Obviously I'd be remiss not to mention the performances of the other two members, with drummer Khronomancer making a very impressive debut with the band, and guitarist Denny Blake's riffs giving the album its muscles.

Though the bass and drum playing are intricate and quite progressive (though avoiding being too flashy), a lot of the album's progressiveness comes from its constant shifts in paces and structure. The guitar playing is obviously significant, but the album doesn't rely on it as heavily as other albums of its style, with most of the riffs being quite straightforward thrashy riffs. There are moments that are a tad more avant-garde and formless, like "All Knowing Cold" or "Pilgrim Age" (which is complete with clean vocals), though I have to admit that there are some moments like "Star Vassal" that just don't do it for me, or some rough transitions, like in the aforementioned "Pilgrim Age". It's obvious that there's a lot of shared DNA with their lineage of late 80s early 90s technical thrash/death, but StarGazer still sound extremely fresh here, not really emulating anyone but continuing to mutate their own brand of this sound, that they've been perfecting for more than two decades.

I'm still not familiar enough with the rest of their discography to properly comment on the nuances of how this differs from their previous albums, but this is pretty convincing and original. It's not without its weaker moments, where I feel I appreciate the intent rather than the execution, but I can't ignore the creativity. This is progressive death metal that still feels vibrant.


Written on 14.02.2021 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 40 users
14.02.2021 - 23:45
That fretless bass is sexy af. Pretty good album, although I think all their previous full-lengths are better. They have a strong discography and their debut is excellent.

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