Alien Syndrome 777: Originally an Avant-Garde Black Metal project conceived by Alessandro Rossi in 2007, along with Nihil (Joey Hopkins – Stagnant Waters and Black Drone Inc.), producing a demo in 2009, titled ‘A.S. 777’ before going on hiatus after the tragic death of Nihil. Now, 2015 sees Alien Syndrome 777 return as a trio with Alessandro joined by Vincent Cassar (Smohalla, HKY) on keyboards Óscar Martin (As Light Dies) covering vocal duties with their debut full length ‘Outer’.
This seven track, thirty-one minute offering is an utterly fascinating listen. Their sound, which, at its core, begins as fairly traditional Black Metal, is developed by the addition of a broad range of synthesiser work adding a very spacey, sci-fi, sonic edge, and excellent vocals that range from tortured cleans to a very traditional Black Metal vitriolic hiss that drops to a growl, and with so much going on within the tracks, you need four or five listens to grasp the full complexity of this superb album.
Of the seven tracks, three are instrumentals, strategically placed at the beginning, middle, and end, breaking things up in an eerie, haunting manner. Opening with the atmospheric ‘An Unconscious Reflection’, a haunting noisescape. Then, midway there is ‘Intermission: Mirrors’, where haunting voice-like sounds are pierced by regular dull metallic beats, and at the finalé, ‘Black Box’, another haunting atmospheric piece that, as it progresses and builds, becomes darker and more dense, with a simple, yet effective repeat guitar piece weaving through the midst of it all.
The feel of the remaining four tracks is, as you would expect, dark and intense. The first, ‘Symmetriads’ has distorted vocal blasts that crush to open, followed by blackened riffs that turn melodic, and a rasping, vitriolic, vocal delivery. The mix of dark electronics and Black Metal is blended beautifully and seamlessly, and the later part sees punchy dark riffing adding more power and intensity. ‘The Bleeding Anthill Of The Universe’ leans more towards a traditional form of Black Metal, with intense riffing, vitriolic, gargling vocals and haunting keyboards weaving beneath. There are also haunting, melancholic clean vocals that break it up, along with equally haunting lead work midway.
‘Unearthly Reveries Unveiled’ arrives like a violent storm. Dark, crushing, and intense from the off, with repeats that hypnotize and mesmerise, closing on a very sonic distorted piece of electronic work. It is a powerful listen.
Finally ‘To Balance And Last’, which begins in a very traditional, Black Metal manner, with intense blackened riffling, then burst of synths, haunting cleans, followed by some of the most darkly vitriolic vocals of the release. The electronic elements become more prominent, along with a spoken overlay as the track progresses.
‘Outer’ is out on ‘Avantgarde Music’ and if you like your Black Metal in that veins of Thorns, or even along the lines of German Black Metal Doomsters Stellar Master Elite, you will find this an utterly intriguing and engaging listen.
Review: Jools Green
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