Country: Greece
Title: Of Fire and Stars
Label: Total Metal Records
Year: 2019
Style: Power Thrash Metal

Fourth full-length album (or fifth if we count the album released under the The Eventide moniker back in 2007) from Greek trio Desert Near The End, a band started back in the '90's as Stormbringer and one that activated under the current name since 2010. The new album is made of 9 tracks clocking a bit over 40 minutes of playing time and is a strange breed of Power Thrash Metal, one that welcomes and encapsulates multiple influences from Progressive, Death and even Black Metal but without letting the influences decisively mark their music, so after all it's still a blend between Thrash and Power Metal we're dealing here with. From the instumental point of view the material is well-done, there's plenty to discover and enjoy here, from fast to vertiginous rhythms to slow and light passages, from clever and melodic guitar leads to metallic bass lines and heavy riffs, and from demented drum patterns to progressive, intricate ones, Of Fire and Stars has a pretty complex composition all in all. The problem, from my point of view, is with the vocal part made mostly of screams or screamed passages to an absolutely nonsense level. Alexandros, the vocalist, screams so much it's fuckin' annoying, and this because at times he offers some pretty rad clean tones, too, so he's well capable of versatility but just chose to keep the Black Death screams as main here; I would have rather liked him playing his Prog Power clean vocals as main and just keep screams and growls as additional to emphasize certain passages, but here he sounds like he's trying to show us he's capable of screaming more than anyone... I guess I'd have a problem with his vocals even in a Black Death band though, so take it as you wish from a guy that's listening to Extreme Metal on a daily basis, but also a guy that hates Tom Araya's vocals, so a blasphemer of the scene. Unfortunately the vocals ruined it all for me but this shouldn't be a scare to you, just give it a chance and make your own mind.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6/10