Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Stellar Master Elite-II: Destructive Interference Generator

Exciter Records

Commercialized blackened doom? Is there really such a thing? Before listening to Stellar Master Elite's new album I would have said no. Or at least I think I would have said no. Maybe I would have just said that yes, it could be possible, but what would be the appeal? As it turns out there is more then enough here to appeal to heavy metal fanatics or, better yet, those who have always thought that what the world needs more then anything right now is a blackened, sample-filled and slowed down to a Black Sabbath-lie crawl, hard as a rock metal album. If that's a need then you just might want to consider this Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany) based band. Formed in 2010, the band is technically just Dave (Crucifixion, Massacre The Wasteland, Rostnagle) on guitars, bass and synthesizers and Marco (Wintermoon, ex-Necroccult) on drums and vocals. That said, it appears as if more then half of the vocals on this album were provided by Benjamin Borucki of the black metal band Sonic Reign. Stellar Master Elite (or SME for short) released their well-received debut album, "I", back in 2011 and, from all accounts, it also displayed signs that the band was more then willing to paint outside the lines. But that was only one album. To carve out a career of playing music that falls outside of the norm though is something else all together. Even in something as nonconforming as black metal it takes skill and a huge set of balls to stand up and dare to stand out. Avantgarde metal has certainly been creeping about in the black metal scene for sometime now so that might not be so shocking in and of itself. But taking it to such an extreme as this? Yeah, it's a whole new world. But, we need to turn back around and see what exactly it is we have here right? Now, while "I" was a self-released album and all, and reportedly a damn fine sounding one at that, the band is now signed on to Exciter Records which should help break this band into new markets. I do have to admit something funny though before I go on any further with this review. I was all set to criticize the band for their self-absorbed and pompous name (Stellar Master Elite? Really? It's just like how it was pointed out in Robot Chicken where you have the leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime, who had to have a name that said "Yeah, I'm the boss so I need a name that spells that out in bold letters!!!" Arrogant much?) when I saw that the band was actually named after a song by Thorn. You see, it does pay to read any/all of promo material/information that comes (often times packed in like sardines) with new albums! Anyway, I'm getting off track (yet again) so let's get back to this album and it's (give or take) 45 minutes worth of simply lovely metal. For these guys the bottom line seems to be blackish doom metal although, seeing as the vocals are actually somewhat clear for this sort of genre, it might actually lean closer to death-like doom. The usual, run-of-the-mill, raspy black metal rasps you'd normally expect to hear are not as present here and, when you add to that things like thrash rock ("Pattern of Perception") and even groove-happy, spaced out, Rob Zombie-like rock (about 1:40 into "Empty Shells of Being" things get downright wicked!), then you end up with a near-perfect example of how to keep even the darkest of genres interesting! I'd have never guessed it myself (that an album like this, from it's album artwork to the song titles, would be so adventurous and down-right interesting!), but just when you begin to think that you've seen and heard it all along comes another "new" band like this to shake things up and offer up a freaking cool alternative to the usually humdrum you're exposed to on a daily basis! If I had a dollar for EVERY black metal release that ends up in my email or (physical) mailbox I'd be pretty well-off! What's more, if I went and listed all of the black metal releases that sound spot-on identical (black metal needs a major shake up in my opinion) you would quickly get a sense of how boring it can and often times does get reviewing this form of metal. But, if you go looking for a reason why black metal can and will survive (and along the way natural evolve into something seldom seen but gloriously embraced) then you might end up stumbling across a release like this. Germany's Stellar Master Elite might not be a well-known band yet, but releases like this should open new doors for them and bring in new fans. So, why not get in on the ground floor so you can boldly proclaim how you were a fan before they became huge and famous?

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Blogger Eric May (The Grim Lord) said...

I strongly doubt these guys are going to get that famous. Dave told me that he's having trouble supporting the band as is. Thanks for supporting them, even if you didn't care much for the disc.

1:04 AM  

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