Sunday, 24 January 2021

Stellar Death - Fragments Of Light


Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 08 Jan 2021


Tracklist:


1. The Astronomer

2. Endless

3. Betelgeuse

4. Binary Collapse

5. Approaching The Singularity

6. Everywhere And. Nowhere

7. Critical Mass (That Which Cannot Be Created)

8. Afterglow


2021 has already thrown up some really good releases and I'm sure many more are nestling in my inbox (they say time is infinite but right now it seems like it's flying by!). This is quite a poignant review considering the members that make up instrumental project Stellar Death reside in Washington D.C., which, has recently been besieged by Kool-aid drinkers (sorry, I know that saying is overused now). That's enough of politics though. Fragments Of Light is the band's latest album, having been released just a week or so ago. It turns out that it's the band's debut album and is currently available digitally.


I’ve really grown to love instrumental music over the years and by that I mean genuine instrumental music. I appreciate ambient noise/synth type stuff too, but this form seems a lot more engaging to me. It’s my first time hearing Stellar Death and album opener ‘The Astronomer’ is a mix of lighter melodic sounds and occasional crunching heaviness. The guitars stay up front, while the percussion and keys add extra bite and texture respectively. Slightly progressive but not in an obtuse way, leaning more towards the straightforward make up of metal in general (metalcore springs to mind for some reason).


‘The Astronomer’ was seven minutes long, which shows you Stellar Death’s keenness for thought provoking and immersive pieces. Rather ironically though, ‘Endless’ is the album’s shortest song and even with that in mind, it’s an excellently delivered and calming song. The recording, mixing and mastering on the album allows it to come alive as well, with the soundscapes of ‘Betelgeuse’ swirling around your ears in the most cinematic way. It’s like you’re surrounded by huge surround sound speakers, such is the effect.


The bass guitar work on Fragments Of Light deserves a proper mention at this point as it offers so much more than just added low-end. It comes to the fore in a greater way on ‘Binary Collapse’ and highlights how important it is to any post-metal band. It’s clear throughout the album but just stands out here for some reason. The song overall is a real mix of heavier hitting layers and comforting, soothing swathes of sound. It leads you into the album’s second half before you know it.


Song-writing is very highly regarded by Stellar Death here and none more so is that true, than on ‘Approaching The Singularity’, which is gentle during it’s first half before building in volume and dissonance as the second half take over. Not all music requires vocals and this song proves why. I’ve been trying to resist searching for a comparison to this band, as I think it’s not necessary to name drop all the time and I’m gonna stick to that because just when I was expecting another airy song, the band drops something a whole lot heavier, at least in parts on ‘Everywhere And Nowhere’. It’s actually quite a variety track too and makes more use of orchestral keys towards the end, balancing the aforementioned dissonance.


The truest post-metal comes in the form of penultimate song ‘Critical Mass (That Which Cannot Be Created)’ and as it plays, it reminds me of how tired I feel. Don’t take that the wrong way though, as it’s not boring by any stretch. I’m just three weeks into the new year and already feel like it’s been three months! This is the most ambient song on Fragments Of Light and once again it’s helped on it’s way by more orchestral keyboard work and even brief but stirring percussion. 


Album closer ‘Afterglow’ is a shorter ambient piece and is quite a fitting end to the record. It’s orchestral and classical, while being dramatic too. It shows the influences and the song-writing skills of Stellar Death. It doesn’t matter that there’s nothing heavy about it, as that’s not the band’s m.o. Overall, Fragments Of Light is a brilliant body of work and one that’s very mature given it’s debut status. The album will appeal to music lovers far and wide, even those not interested in metal.


You can stream and purchase Fragments Of Light digitally below:-



Stellar Death - https://www.facebook.com/stellardeathdc

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