Album: Bound to Carrion
Released date: August 1998
Genre: Death Metal
Bound to Carrion is the first album to come to my mind when I hear fellow metalheads talk about the Cebuano death metal band Astarus. Now, Astarus is one of the Philippines’ top-tier old school extreme metal acts. They were formed way back in the year 1993. The fact that these guys started out in the early 90s only tells us that their forte is crafting scourging old school death metal tunes. Alright enough about my short introduction about the band, let us now talk about the album.
Astarus pretty much took most of the main ingredients to death metal when they were forging their debut full-length “Bound to Carrion“, but they left behind death metal’s speed factor and replaced it with the doomy Black Sabbath influence like what Autopsy, Incantation, Asphyx and early Tiamat did with their music. The album contains nine tracks of crushing, heavy and mostly doom-laden death metal hymn. It’s really a damn shame that only a few death metal fans in the Philippines knows about this band, because this album really does something unique with the death metal scene in the country.
Like what all death/doom metal records bring to the table, this album has those great multiple riff changes — from open strums to tremolo in progression — which ends up opening more options in terms of the record’s song arrangement. The relaxed tempos, yet solid groovy atmosphere, also stands out as the double bass batters all through fitting sections of every material in the album while the bass runs along with it and then the remarkably deadly guitar works open up.
Everything on this record is perfectly compatible together. The album’s mixing and production is utterly relevant as it allows the true heaviness of the band’s music to arise. Plus the band’s song writing skill sticks out of the crowd of every extreme metal band located in the Philippines. These guys are way ahead of their time when we talk about the death metal scene in the Philippines during the album’s released date. The best part about this offering is that every track here has their own way of standing out, so each and every song is catchy in their own little way.
To end my review on Astarus‘ debut full-length, my final comment is that this album is a total classic. I highly recommend those who consider themselves as true fans of the death metal genre to hunt the record down one way or another. Astarus is still active until this day and they are still a great band, and they are pretty consistent when it comes to playing and manufacturing death metal tunes. Any chance that you people are dropping by Cebu city in the Philippines, you should go catch a show of the band.