Gutvoid- Astral Bestiary [E.P.]

Rating: 4.5
Distributor/label: Blood Harvest Records
Release: 28 August 2020
Buy Album:
Blood Harvest Records Bandcamp (Upcoming Album Digital Pre-Order)/Blood Harvest Records Shop
Band Website: Bandcamp/ Facebook/ Twitter 

Band Line up:
Gutvoid- Astral Bestiary

Justin Boehm – Bass
Daniel Bonofiglio – Guitars
Brendan Dean – Guitars and Vocals
D. W. Lee – Drums

Tracklisting:

01- They Came Dripping From The Stars
02- Entranced By A Frozen Dawn
03- Pilgrimage To The Necropolis Ruin

Review:

Astral Bestiary is a Toronto-based psychedelic death-metal quartet and Gutvoid’s debut recording. Its members are well-established members of the extreme metal community in Canada. This 24 minute, three-track long E.P. is a tantalising taster of a full-length album to come, and I for one, cannot wait. Their upcoming album will include an additional single: Forbidden City Beneath the Crypt. 

This E.P. could only be described as completely pristine. It manages to pull an impressive feat in exploring a well-used theme in death-metal, of eldritch, Lovecraftian horror, without sounding cliched.

The tracks are lengthy but by no means lose energy or interest. Gutvoid’s nuanced approach to their musical structure allows for each song to become almost balladic since you can hear the well-thought-out progression. The perfect, satisfying heaviness of the guttural vocals and sludgy bass and guitar are contrasted with moments of almost jovial lightness in the forms of keys rarely heard in death metal and other whimsies; they help to avoid the stereotypical riff-less murk characterizing  “sepulchral” death metal nowadays. Every strum and beat can be heard and appreciated, resonating in harmony to create a unique listener journey.

Furthermore, this E.P. does manage to sound truly eldrich, with something of dark psychedelia echoing through each track. It seems to have lifted itself from the Necronomicon itself (minus the racism naturally) and oxidised with a new and modern current. The cosmic dread is present, but also a sense of wonder and space masterfully articulated somehow.

This amusingly but aptly described “eldrich-yet-fresh” record is a triumph and truly original. With a feature length album soon on the way, this is a band to keep an eye (or a million all-seeing orbs) on.

Review by Annalisa Orlando
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