Thursday 2 February 2023

Astarium/Fire Messiah - Split + Astarium - Furies Single

Labels: More Hate Productions/Snow Wolf Records

Formats: CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 01 May 2022


1. Astarium - Her Winter Majesty

2. Astarium - Echo Of Niflheim

3. Astarium - The Wind Walker

4. Fire Messiah - Cerebral Warfare.

5. Fire Messiah - Flirting With The End

6. Fire Messiah - Misadventures In Creation

2022 was a quiet year for Russian ambient black metal band Astarium, in which only three physical releases saw the light of day. The first was this split with US black metal band Fire Messiah, which was released via Russia's More Hate Productions on CD and digital formats, as well as US label Snow Wolf Records on tape. Fire Messiah is a new name to me and from reading Metal Archives, the band has been releasing music since 2021, starting with a demo and being followed by a split (this one), two singles, three EPs and three full-lengths as of this review.

Astarium has always been about big, bombastic ambient/symphonic black metal and that approach is none more obvious than on this split, starting with ‘Her Winter Majesty’. It’s very melodic thanks to the synths/keys employed; but the percussion, guitars and vocals add an iciness to the song. There appear to be a couple of skips in the recording during the first track, but that could either be down to duplication/manufacturing or because I ripped the cd to MP3 before reviewing it. 

Part of me would love to hear Astarium’s music performed by a full band, just to hear what it would sound like. With that being said, it would take away the individuality of the project. Individuality that’s brought to life on the catchy, bouncing ‘Echo Of Niflheim’. The orchestral melodies are great here and there’s a backing element that could be gang-vocals or the wind gusting (on further listening it’s definitely the wind!).

The breakneck delivery of Astarium’s side concludes with ‘The Wind Walker’, which is both the split’s shortest song and the band’s most blackened. The effects nestled within it make you think that there’s some ungodly being in your vicinity as the vocals swirl around you, amongst the blasting percussion and hypnotic synth performance.

The second half of the split is reserved for Fire Messiah and there’s a much more mechanised, industrial sound on their opener ‘Cerebral Warfare’, though you’re not too far away from organs and hellish black metal. As with Astarium before them, Fire Messiah’s creativity is obvious straight away, as is the urgency that’s been the bedrock of this release so far.

There’s an unnerving yet touching romanticism about Fire Messiah’s music, that reminds me a bit of Blooming Carrions for some reason (totally different facet of extreme metal, but whatever). There’s more rawness here though, governed by the punk-influence flowing through the song, even if the strings try their best to banish that sentiment.

Split closer ‘Misadventures In Creation’ greets you with full-on electronica vibes. The opposing sounds make it a very odd listen, when held up alongside Fire Messiah’s more extreme tones, yet it doesn’t take long to become engrossed in it. That electronic soundscape works brilliantly well and injects some proper adrenaline into the release as a whole.

As splits go, this provides a bit of a surprise. On the one hand, I’m used to Astarium’s music being slightly slower in tempo but here it’s bright and punchy in it’s delivery. Fire Messiah stands out as a band that is finally making me appreciate the use of electronica in extreme metal. Call me a dinosaur, a purist or whatever you want but I’m starting to really get it. Maybe I’ll broaden my horizons! In conclusion, this is a really well put together split.

You can stream both sides of the split on bandcamp below:-

Physical/Digital copies can be purchased from the labels below (as well as via the bands above):-

More Hate Productions -

Snow Wolf Records -

Labels: Masters Of Kaos Productions

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 15 August 2022


1. Furies

Now it's onto another release from Astarium and one that's on a medium that seems to have died out, the  cd single. Calling Furies a single may be a bit misleading, given that it's over sixteen minutes long, but it is merely one song after all. It was released on cd via Colombian label Masters of Kaos Productions last August, with a limitation of 100 copies.

‘Furies’ is a different proposition to the music contained on Astarium’s split with Fire Messiah. It has a greater ambient approach, with SiN’s black metal providing a darker atmosphere, especially with the added orchestration and symphonic elements. It’s very bombastic during the mid-section, bringing to mind earlier Dimmu Borgir. 

SiN manages to make it sound very cohesive despite it’s lengthy playing time, where other songs often sound like shorter songs stitched together. That’s a skill in itself when it comes to song-writing. ‘Furies’ is a song you can get lost in. Another stellar release from a prolific artist.

You can stream 'Furies' below, where it's also available to purchase on cd:-

Astarium -

Fire Messiah -

More Hate Productions -

Snow Wolf Records -

Masters of Kaos Productions -

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