Drops Of Heart – Stargazers

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label:  Self-Released
Release:  22nd July 2020
Buy Album: Bandcamp
Band Website: Website/Youtube/Facebook/Instagram

Band Line up:

Denis Fakhrislamov – Vocal
Vadim Nizamov – Vocal, guitar, keyboards, bass
Pavel Klimov – GuitarArtem Gabbasov – Drums

Tracklisting:

01-Echoes
02-Frost Grip (feat. Richard Sjunnesson)
03-Knot
04-Escapist
05-Lull
06-Starlight (feat. Bjorn Strid)
07-Modern Madness
08-Coffin
09-Exodus
10-Death Lover
11-Discoverers
12-Stargazers
13-Starlight (Single English Version)(Bonus Track)

Review:

Stargazers is Russian melodic death-metal quartet’s Drops Of Heart second full-length studio album. In it’s early days, the band was plagued with frequent lineup changes that delayed recordings.

The album is supposed to be a sequential tale of personal afflictions and tragedy, but what those personal afflictions and tragedies are,  I really couldn’t say, since naturally, the entire album is sung in Russian. The band cites “the legacy of the 1990s and 2000s metal pioneers” as an influence in this record, as well as melodic and black metal elements.

The album does absolutely have the ‘melodic’ side of things down to a T, with rather atmospheric overtures, synths, and sweeping intermits. They fluctuate in heaviness and aggression in different tracks, with “Frost Grip” sounding almost operatic in stark contrast to “Exodus,” which sounds heavy enough to be in a Meshuggah record. The vocals are guttural and animalistic, ladened with emotion.

I think the band really shines in these heavier tracks, as they really good examples of the emotion and cathartic aggression which melodic death metal as a genre can be really good expressing. It would easily measure up to other melodic death-metal successes such as Gojira in delivering depth as well as aggression.  There’s also some real musical technical talent to be commended: the speeding and faultless guitar solo in the track “Discovers” particularly comes to mind.

A few of the “softer” tracks such as “Echoes” and “Stargazers” do run the risk of aligning themselves with the worst of the mainstream melodic death metal of the early 2000s; laying a little too heavily on the electro-synths and keyboard intros. The track “Lull” is probably the worst offender for this, reminding me a little of Bullet For My Valentines’s more unfortunate creative choices. If the entire album was leaning in this tone it probably would have erred on the side of cheesy, but the few real enthusiastic headbangers mixed in actually manage to balance out the tone overall.

Overall, it’s a decent record and a good showcase of the versatility of melodic death metal. With a few hits and misses, the album is neither an abject failure nor a life-changing success. However, the potential is clearly there, and I’m sure it will tick a lot of boxes for fans out there.

Review by Annalisa Orlando

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