Archives of the Dead part VI: Astaroth – Operation Warlord (EP 1994 - Teutonic Existence Records)
Recording line up: Teemu Vähäkangas (guitars), Kuisma Uotila (vocals, bass), Remmu Mäkilaine (drums), Hessu Rantanen (guitars)
Recorded and mixed at Soundwall Studio, Seinäjoki, December 1994.
And one more completely unknown band; one which back in the old days never really been too recognized and nowadays is only known and remembered by only very few maniacs… Band, which never went anywhere further than releasing few demos and the traditional 7”EP single... I am talking about Finnish troop called Astaroth. Well, about the band I cannot say anything more than what we can find on Metal Archives, so Astaroth was formed in 1988 and released several demo tapes between 1990 and 1994 and then they’ve done “Operation Warlord” EP in 1995. Their last demo was released in 2000, so it looks like Astaroth never managed to interest any labels with their music (well, except Teutonic Existence from Holland, who’re responsible for putting out the single). Does that mean that their music was so bad? I don’t think so, it was actually pretty decent, but the problem was I think that death metal wasn’t so popular anymore in the mid 90’s and not many labels cared about signing small bands, which were playing this style of music. Astaroth was one of many and one which was just destined to perish in the crowd.
But as I already mentioned “Operation Warlord” EP is not so bad. I quite like the riffing and the production of these two songs, which really reminds me mid 90’s Benediction, with maybe some more thrashing parts here and there. But there are even some more doomy, kind of early Paradise Lost moments, with some slow, melancholic melodies (like in the title song), so really the whole music on the EP is varied and structured. But the music reminds me mainly Benediction, from such LPs as “The Dreams You Dread” – guitar tone, the riffing, the vocals are all quite alike, so is the feeling of the music. Astaroth is pretty good at what they were doing. Maybe the music is not for those, who prefer blasting, brutal and massive death metal; “Operation Warlord” is more or less mid paced and slow, speaking of the tempos, but it works well enough for my taste. Sure, it would be nice if the music had some more power and aggression, but whatever… It is OK. And when I listen to “Operation Warlord” I wonder what the demos of Astaroth were like; because if they were anything like this EP and maybe had more rawer and violent production then it could have been a nice stuff. I definitely will keep my eye open for some more music of this Finnish band.