“The Scream That Tore The Sky” is an amalgam of technical ecstasy, brutal riffage, harsh vocals and pounding drums. This is what CYNIC would sound like if they were plagued with nightmares rather than pleasant dreams. This is not merely an album but an aural journey across vast soundscapes comprised of unrelenting harsh emotion and mental entanglement. This album truly bears a unique sound, as well as a unique sense of theme and mood.
I had only heard vague nods of this band due to their split with ARGHOSLENT in 2001 but have never been given the opportunity to give them a listen. This debut full-length seemed to come out of left field and has taken me wholly by surprise. The most immediate aspect which grips you by the balls and refuses to let go is the nourishing pallet of riffs spewed from every inch of this album. The Serpent Inquisitor handles the axe with ease, letting beautiful melodies bleed from his fingers like an artist who is never quite content with his work. The vast multitude of riffs which all seem to tap different shades of similar emotions come across as quite refreshing and articulately placed.
The drumming found on STARGAZER’s debut is equally impressive. The Zelator is able to beat the hell out of the skins and play in odd timings while retaining a sense of vigor and elasticity which allows him to tackle a diverse multitude of rhythms. He recently replaced STARGAZER’s previous drummer, Phoenix Chrysalis and is more than capable of filling the throne. Bassist The Great Righteous Destroyer appears to be talented as well but proves hard to discern amongst the chaotic yet tranquil sound.
The vocal approach is a combination of Death Metal and Black Metal and is nothing altogether new or exciting. There are times when it is particularly eviscerating but the majority of the time it takes a back seat to the guitar-work and song structure at hand, which is of course nothing but a good thing. I am also quite glad to see that this band did not attempt to take on a clean approach during any points in the composition and risk spoiling the release as a whole, as that has ruined more than one record in the past.
What is truly amazing about this release is the old adage of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. When taken out of context the riffs, drums and vocals appear nothing special until utilized in the structure of the songs and given their avant-garde flair which surprisingly not only works, but works well. With such a unique and off-beat sound we are able to enjoy the release throughout its entirety as the creative well never runs dry.
STARGAZER is a unique band which will not revolutionize Metal, but damn well will be given their say. The sheer esoteric sound presented allows one to enjoy this release due to its strange nature and I challenge someone to present me with an album that bears a similar sound. It is truly great to see bands stepping outside the limiting boundaries of regurgitating their influences. (Online September 20, 2005)