Astaroth Incarnate - Omnipotent (The Infinite Darkness) - (8/10)
Published on May 12, 2018
Initially known as Astaroth until 2016, Astaroth Incarante added to their moniker to differentiate themselves from the twenty-three other bands currently listed on the Metal Archives with the same name. Who knew demonology was so chic? Regardless, the Toronto-based five piece recently dropped their first EP as Astaroth Incarnate, Omnipotent (The Infinite Darkness) in late 2017 through CDN Records.
Though the band could loosely be described as some type of melodic black/death metal combination, their sound is one of those instances where a wide swath of influences congeal into a driving, varied approach that really has its own special charm rather than sounding like the schizophrenic mess that many bands end up with. Though the music offers a strong backbone of punishing black/death metal stereotypes, one can uncover brutal death metal influences in the vocals, progressive metal touches in the lead guitar work (especially during “Sanctum of Torment”), and Tempo of the Damned-era thrashing with a touch of groove. Don’t let that turn you off, because the vast majority here is truly punchy and punishing blackened death metal, it’s just that Astaroth Incarnate is able to make the style their own.
Performance-wise, these guys certainly have their chops. Everything is tight and proficient; more so than the most of the scene. Indeed, in a time when most bands in the style focus on atmosphere and forget about technicality, it’s really cool to see a band deliver on both sides of the fence. The crystal clear production is quite punchy, allowing everything to shine through. While everyone does a fine job, vocalist Sam Astaroth deserves mention for his powerful, yet varied vocal delivery, which mostly consists of a deep, snarled growl, though he delves into the previously mentioned realms of BDM.
Omnipotent (The Infinite Darkness) shows a band hungry to take on the scene’s stalwarts. This is a professionally played and professionally produced chunk of melodic black/death metal. It’s highly varied, which is certainly one of the band’s strengths at this stage. It’s a bit concerning how this might translate into a full length, whether it will sound as streamlined or if will dip into the realms of schizophrenia, but as it stands this EP is well worth your time. Fans of black/death looking for a little polish or modernity would do well to check this out.