Apr 012020


If you’re unfamiliar with Astarium’s creative impulses, the name of the song we’re premiering in this post may mislead you. Coming from a black metal band whose music is often characterized as “symphonic and ambient BM”, the name “Snow Storm” might make you expect one thing, and you might find something else instead — something much more intriguing and alluring than what you might expect. And we’ll say further that those characterizations of Astarium’s music as “symphonic black metal” (which you will see on Metal-Archives, among other places) may also prove to be a bit of a mis-direction, at least in the case of Astarium’s new album.

But before explaining what we mean, we should note that the name of the new album is Hyperborea, and it will be co-released on April 18th by GrimmDistribution (Ukraine) and Gravações Tunguska (Portugal). It is the eighth album since 2008 by this one-man project from Novosibirsk, Russia, and (we are informed) it was inspired by “the sagas of northern lands about honor and valor, about blood and revenge, about beauty and gloom, about glory and dishonor”.



And now let’s return to “Snow Storm“. Rather than a blizzard of icy sound and caustic snarls overlaid with sheets of dominating synths, which is what you might expect, it instead delivers a head-hooking rocking beat and an equally head-hooking riff with shimmering and swirling flute-like tones overhead, creating a mystifying and spritely dance that contrasts with the vocals, which are an array of crocodilian croaks and macabre growls. The song is like the soundtrack to a gathering of witches and warlocks, jumping in sinister glee about a forest bonfire while a hellish dance-master issues his grotesque exhortations.

The infernal dance subsides before the end, the rhythms vanishing, allowing the swirl of flickering and fluid tones, and gasps of the wind, to hold sway, as if all the whirling forms have vanished into the mists, leaving only snowfall and the tingle of the spellbound memory on your chilling skin. It’s really quite a magical and illuminating experience.

The one previously released song from the album, “Halls of Winter Gods“, which we’re also including below, provides a different kind of vision, but one that’s no less enthralling. It has even more mystical components to its sound, but also more ravaging cadences and more ravishing attacks. Yet that flute-like sound is still present, spilling out its secrets of sorrow while the music gallops and thunders. And the crystalline keyboard chords make a dance of their own that doesn’t sound grounded in the here and now, but in mystic halls where old gods watch over old lands.


GrimmDistribution and Gravações Tunguska will release Hyperborea in a jewel-case CD edition with Pit-Art and an 8-page booklet, and recommend it for fans of such bands as Kataxu, Bilskirnir, Eisenwinter, Urdung, and Wulfhere.



01. Mysterious Fog
02. The Wild Hunt
03. Doomed
04. Halls Of Winter Gods
05. When The Proud Die
06. Snow Storm
07. Sign Of Cosmic Might
08. For The King!
09. Battle Glory
10. Daughter Of Imir
11. Red Rose
12. Kill To Survive
13. Carpathian Windspirit
14. Curse From The Past
15. Lucky Bastard
16. Zhothaqquah
Length – 46:20



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