Astaroth Incarnate - Omnipotence – The Infinite Darkness 01Addition, subtraction, so much of metal involves the bolting-on and prying-off of countless sub-genres. Musicians and critics often fall into the trap of viewing music less as an expression of fertile creativity and more like a chest of drawers awaiting assembly. Start with a death metal base, insert black metal vocals into socket B, affix progressive chords perpendicular to the shelves… wait, we’re missing two slats and I’ve stripped a screw. Billed as a melding of tech death, black, and thrash, Omnipotence – The Infinite Darkness by Toronto natives Astaroth Incarnate had the cynic in me guessing the end-result without listening to a single note. I had a conclusion in mind formed via musical arithmetic, a simple case of mashing the influences together to codify a foregone rejoinder. Jaded and weary, I expect no surprises. Astaroth Incarnate beg to differ.

One thing I’ve learned during my tenure as a critic is to sublimate any stimuli-related emotion when spinning a record for the first time. It’s too easy to get whipped into a giddy lather only to then be let down when the smooth façade gives way to blemishes after a prolonged engagement1. Insight requires objectivity, but even with my blind spots accounted for I found it difficult to smother the grin splitting my face once Omnipotence – The Infinite Darkness began in earnest. “Curse of the Black Plague” is a gregarious rib-crusher, a bear-hug bulging with tumbling drum fills, blast beats and down-shifted groove-tinged death riffs. It’s a likable track that encourages you to sling one arm over its shoulder and buy it a drink-or-three, especially as the remainder of the song bounces between the angular leads of At the Gates and the water-tight chords encountered on an Arch Enemy record.

Better yet is “Sanctum of Torment,” a song that takes the fight directly to Amon Amarth with its infinity-loop leads that cruise over head-bang-demanding chords. And the solos, my word, they are so good it makes me wish I could hang them on my living room wall to entertain visiting dignitaries. Suffice it to say, Omnipotence – The Infinite Darkness makes an excellent first impression. Considering I expected a fairly staid amalgamation between the various death, black, and thrash elements, I was taken aback by how agreeable I found the overall rendition, even if it wasn’t burdened by too much originality. On a tech-infused album, it would be easy to heap praise solely at the feet of the musicians, but some accolade should be reserved for vocalist Astaroth, whose guttural expulsions, piercing shrieks and barked suppurations in the vein of Dani Filth and Jason Mendonca fits the music like a stud-ridden glove.

Astaroth Incarnate - Omnipotence – The Infinite Darkness 02

My unbridled enthusiasm faltered, at least for a spell, the more I listened to the album as I began to notice that in between the moments of breath-taking virtuosity were humdrum sections that ambled along with a measure of indifference. I was deaf to those laboured chords until my inner-critic cleared its throat to remind me I had a job to do beyond mindless cheerleading. This empirical detachment proved deflating, at least until I spun the record a handful more times. What I came to realize was that my disappointment stemmed from my initial glee fooling me into thinking that every bar on the album was an out-and-out success when in reality the exceptional parts, like on most releases, were dispersed over a wide area. With this newfound knowledge, I regained an appreciation of Omnipotence – The Infinite Darkness, only this time it was tempered by experience. I note with some amusement that my traversal from ignorance to illumination mirrors that of the “four stages of competence” and the “Johari window.”

While every second of Omnipotence – The Infinite Darkness may not cover itself in glory, on balance I find that it makes for a pretty easy recommendation. Comprised of five tracks that total 33-minutes, it’s not a particularly long record (and the first track is an atmospheric intro)2 but the white-hot musicianship just encourages you to stab the “play” button again after the last track ends. Astaroth Incarnate do well to rise above their genre trappings, proving they’re more than just a predictable melding of styles. I can only imagine they’ll improve their craft on future releases and produce an album where my tumescent rapture never withers.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: CDN Records
Website: astarothincarnate.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/astarothincarnate
Releases Worldwide: September 8th, 2017

Show 2 footnotes

  1. We don’t discuss journalism with fans! – Steel Admin.
  2. C’mon guys, why are you wasting precious minutes?
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  • Cherd

    What is happening with that band photo? Are they watching a candle race? Looks like the guys on the ends put a little money down.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Staring contest with the candle….dude on the left’s money is on the candle…..dude on the right’s is on the singer.
      The other two are copping a feel.

    • It clearly states in the liner notes that they get out the Ouija board before every practice. Makes sense.

    • Yolo Swaggins

      They’re about to play an intense game of rock, paper, scissors.

    • Here’s Johnny

      weren’t they told never to look into the light?

    • Sam Astaroth

      The album is about the omnipotent darkness and embracing its powers and reigning over the weak that cannot do so. If you see there are 5 of us, 5 candles portraying 5 power source and the skulls and the noose resemble the dead/weak ones defeated

  • Dr. Wvrm

    Did you steal the key to my name drop locker?

    • Nukenado

      He didn’t take the DragonForce name drop at least.

      • Dr. Wvrm

        That’s Eldritch’s locker, three doors down and covered in tentacles.

        • Nukenado

          Oops, my bad. Probably due to trying to sneak in and being hit in the head by a skeleton.

  • John Mosley

    Tumescent rapture, huh. Down, boy.

  • WhamBamSam

    This seems promising. Tech Death records tend to have a pretty short shelf life for me, but from the review it sounds like it ultimately acquitted itself well over repeat spins and I can at least count on it serving well in my rotation on its first tour.

    • Sam Astaroth

      Thanks man! It gets better with each listen! m/

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Mmmmm, that delicious Old English Text font just makes me not want to listen to the album but the review does. I’ll probably check it out.

    • Sam Astaroth

      Check out the lyric video and if you like it, give the album a listen!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Shazam!

  • Nukenado

    Tech Death with a DR9.
    WHUT

  • welyyt
    • HeavyMetalHamster

      The candle is winning!!!

    • Sam Astaroth

      Lmao… good one 😂

      • welyyt

        Stupid jokes aside, I’m loving this record: great job, looking forward to future stuff.

        • Sam Astaroth

          Thanks man! Glad you enjoyed it! We are currently working on a full length!

  • Bryan Barkman

    The embed felt like 3 different songs smooshed together, and the 7.5 minutes felt like 11 or 12. I think I liked it but it might be a little too ‘riff salad’ for me.

    • Sam Astaroth

      Fair opinion. The songs take twists and turns depending on the storyline of the song. Some songs are shorter cause they have a straight forward message. Others have a longer length due to the storytelling aspect. If you read the lyrics, it explains a story. For example, Sanctum of Torment is about the 5 stages of grief which starts in death. To explain this, the song takes a 9.5m journey accordingly

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Technical Death Metal and spiked bracelets sure go well together. Most Technical Death Metal forgets the Evil. This instead puts the Technical at the service of the Evil. Also, this sounds a lot like Sacramentum.

    • Sam Astaroth

      Thanks! Glad you like it! m/

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Keep up the good work! Next time make it both more Technical and more Evil!! Also, kudos for being Canadian!

  • Ta2dlam

    I can see how your initial reaction was so ecstatic, Treble. This weaves through the sub-genres quite well and I never found myself bored nor at odds with the changes. I was just listening to Seduced – Discarding the Mask and it also moves through the black/death/thrash although I don’t think I would add the tech-death moniker to them.

    • Sam Astaroth

      Glad you liked it man! Our new stuff has a bit more cohesiveness to it with more emphasize on riffs and atmosphere but overall its moving along similar direction

  • Norfair Legend

    Whenever I see the words “tech-death,” I immediately turn the other way but I found myself grooving out to the whole embedded song. This is pretty good. I need to hear more but I think this is a definite purchase.

  • The Unicorn
  • Shiny Metal Object

    Not a huge tech death fan, but this has Gomorrah-like catchiness. Will be giving it many spins.

    • Sam Astaroth

      Thank you m/

  • basstard

    Probably wont ever give another modern tech death band a chance until I see them live.

    Computer assisted metal is way too prevalent these days..

    If you cant play live because you forget your laptop, you’re doing it wrong.

  • Jeremy Freeman

    Pretty average.

  • jersey devil

    That was killer.