Stargazer - A Merging to the Boundless
Nuclear War Now! Productions
Progressive Death Metal
7 songs (37' 51")
Release year: 2014
Nuclear War Now! Productions
Reviewed by Andy

Stargazer's lineup alone promises great things to the new listener: With members from other Australian bands we've reviewed like Johnny Touch, Mournful Congregation, and Cauldron Black Ram, there's no shortage of experienced metal musicians in the group. Not that devotees of the preceding bands will be able to expect funeral doom, traditional heavy metal, or sludge. A Merging to the Boundless is, well, different, even from its prior albums; more blackened-sounding and death influences than before, though it's a hard album to categorize in any case.

The title track is a composition of big, blocky riffs, with Mournful Congregation's Damon Good, in his stage role as "The Great Righteous Destroyer", furiously thrumming away on the bass, a strange experience for those who are only used to his funeral doom. But there is a little of the contemplative beauty of that band's music, intentionally or not, in the intro to An Earth Rides Its Endless Carousel, which moves to a mid-tempo but heavy wall of riffs before embarking on a voyage into death-inflected complexity. Guitarist Denny Blake ("The Serpent Inquisitor" -- I love these guys' titles) provides sharp, clipped riffing on here, but moves to a tremolo-picked attack on Incense and Aeolian Chaos, a song more on the blackened end of things that is surprisingly melodic, with some excellent palm-muted picking towards the end.

The rest of the album proceeds in a similar vein after that song. Old Tea, while less distinctive than Incense and Aeolian Chaos, still has its unconventional structure and bleak guitar patterns, while Ride the Everglad of Reogniroro opts for a sharper, more focused pattern punctuated by high-pitched harmonics. But the really epic piece on here is The Grand Equalizer, compared to which many of the other tracks pale a bit. Crunching riffs are overlaid by chaotic solos, right up to when it quiets down to what sounds like an e-bow solo, slowing to a halt until springing back up again in fury, but with a traditional-sounding melodic hook that feels like it belongs on an Iron Maiden album.

This quirky, unique work is quite a worthwhile listen for progressive death metal fans. While difficult to approach on some tracks, there certainly weren't any parts where I felt like I was getting bored, and A Merging to the Boundless's mad-scientist approach of throwing together whatever they want into songs never results in a track that sticks to one thing for a long time anyway.


Killing Songs :
An Earth Rides Its Endless Carousel, Incense and Aeolian Chaos, The Grand Equalizer
Andy quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Stargazer that we have reviewed:
Stargazer - Psychic Secretions reviewed by Andy and quoted 88 / 100
Stargazer - Gloat / Borne reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
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