Astriferous - The Lower Levels of Sentience (EP)
Me Saco un Ojo Records
Death Metal
4 songs (20:28)
Release year: 2020
Label homepage
Reviewed by Goat

Costa Ricans Astriferous here present their debut EP after a couple of well-received demos, and you can see why. The band play an aggressive form of death metal with plenty of Autopsy and Incantation in their DNA, taking not just the deranged riffing but also the elder bands' sense of the spooky, strange ambience bringing the music to life before the caveman gallop begins. Yet that is unfair to Astriferous, as they're more than good at their instruments, particularly the grinding guitars and capable drumming. And they're quite happy to slip into a doom-death trudge, Ghost Universe slowing the pace then speeding it up almost to old-school grindcore levels. The vocals are a hoary bellow, dipping to a demonic snarl on Exercises in Tantric Sorcery which has a touch of early black metal to its rushing chaos as it takes things in an atmospheric little journey, close to prog if it were not so ugly and foreboding.

That cover art is apt; this feels like a trip through deep, dark caverns, inhabited by sinister forms of life that lurk just out of your vision as you gaze at the inhuman architecture formed by millennia-old stalactites. Myriad of Grotesquerie builds on this with its twistedly melodic riffing, slowing to a technical churn as the riffs drone on beneath dancing cymbals - as ugly as the music can be, it's impressively played and contains many a compelling riff. Six-minute finale Necrohallucination is especially good with its greater indulgence in the doom elements, descending into an agonising crawl before speeding into a black metal gallop that has more than a little early Darkthrone to it, fading as their sound seems to take a turn for the psychedelic. Leave them wanting more, and more is definitely required from Astriferous; well recommended for death metal fans with an affinity for the underground - literally!

Killing Songs :
All - esp Exercises in Tantric Sorcery & Necrohallucination
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