Country: Russia
Title: Solar Despair
Label: More Hate Productions
Year: 2021
Style: Symphonic Black Metal

Here's a new album by Astarium, the ninth full-length by this Novosibirsk based one-man-band, and after playing most if not all of them along the way, I can easily say this is one of the best, if not the best Astarium album so far. Well, after more than 15 years of activity with constant and serious activity on discographic level, it feels quite natural for this band to become its best version so far, but the progress is really visible (read audible) here. If you know the band you know exactly what to expect, but even so I bet this album will be a surprise, a nice surprise. We get here 8 new tracks in a bit more than 40 minutes, and both Astarium "worlds" are presented this time, the Dark Ambient and the Symphonic Black Metal worlds. If you're not familiar with this band, you should know it's some sort of Symphonic Black Metal quite synthetic sounding (maybe that will be the first thing that strikes you), based on slow to mid-tempo rhythms, an abundance of keys and synths, and a general fantasy-like atmosphere that takes you to outer space in this case. SiN (the man behind Astarium) improves both his drums and guitar sound to a point they feel way less synthetic than on some of his previous releases, they still are synthetic because that's his band trademark, but not annoying at all. What I don't understand is the song Black Sun Rising, one of the dullest Astarium tracks I've heard, and strange enough this one comes after the best track on the album, Hounds of Tindalos. Anyway, all in all this new one is a very good album, and if you don't know the band yet, this one is a good occasion to get to know it.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10