As one of my favorite discoveries from last years music journey, Arkhtinn has returned with another colossal twenty minute ravishing of extreme Black Metal fury from the void. As the first release to have a name of sorts, Astrophobia plays perfectly into their established astral tinged sound. One halve of a split record with Starless Domain, this lone track was a little difficult to love at first, its shear, howling screams an ear-piercing blunt force attack assaulting my mood. With some repetitions and adjustment, the music beneath its tropes and aesthetic harassment are quite brilliant in moments.
The format is as to be expected. Passageways of darkly scene setting build up tension for slabs of thumping rhythmic bass to drive us to expectant plunges into despair as walls collapse with the pummeling of instruments on full throttle. Channeled through its low fidelity aesthetic, one has to adjust attention to pick out the finer crafts of sound between its perpetual blast beats, manic assaults on the fretboard and devilish howls of pure exhilarated despair that penetrate it all with a vile menace.
Maddening whirls of astral synthesizers twinkle through the gaps like stars shimmering in the night sky. Its symphonic component is most exciting as the guitars tend to thrash into a drone of fury. When deploying demonic melodies in syncopated shifts, the music takes form akin to the like of Dimmu Borgir. Another ear catching element, a recurring operatic voice, was slipped in the distant regions of this dense mix. Cropping up inline with the howls and screams, its human intensity distinguished it from the synths with an air of cryptic mystic. Not utilized often but on the rare moments it arises the song found renewed energy.
The monstrous sprawl of a twenty minute song, perpetually plunging us into dizzying depths of extremity has its limits. The broader structure didn't seem to other much more in its duration than the elasticated of easing tensions to simply strike again. Although some elements reoccurred, the lack in differing extremes tends to drone on, most of the compositions making its mark early on. The format is as such but it does feel like room to forge something a little grander. As for the other half of the split I didn't care as much for it, so this blog simply focused on the band I was most interested in. I've never really brought into split releases and the pairing of tracks here doesn't convince me.