Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Epta Astera's Semper Reformanda (EP)

This is the best Christian recording since Virgin Black's Requiem: Mezzo Forte.  

I don't say that lightly. 

Nor do I particularly like using religion as an adjective for a type of music, since it in no way describes sound.  In the same way that geography doesn't describe sound, but still we see bands throwing "Chilean" or "Balkan" in front of their genres trying as best they can to be more descriptive (and failing).  Finding good "Christian" music is so rare though nowadays it almost needs to be emphasized when something good comes along.   

This music takes influences from Gregorian chant, folk, post-rock and atmospheric post-black metal.  The architecture isn't predictable and tempos vary throughout, changing suddenly and sporadically from quite slow/doomy to aggressive and uptempo (the black metal tempo isn't really a footing).  There are all kinds of instruments on this album, and I don't know what most of them are, but what is really proven here with these instruments is that folk can be worked into about any type of music without sounding gimmicky if done right.  Unfortunately, most bands don't do it right. And the result is... well… gimmicky.

Epta Astera and Falls of Rauros and Skagos and bands of the like are, unfortunately, the exceptions.     

Nevertheless, that makes this avant-garde stuff, when it comes along, all the more sweet.  Ornate and bombastic baroque that even Bach might've found tempestuous. It's a pity these Eastern themes don't show up in music more often.           

To quote Epta Astera's blog, "Black Metal and the Reformation":

Black metal is about individualism. Often times it comes dressed up in vestments of paganism or satanism or misanthropy, but at its core it’s about the freedom of the individual in the face of society (NSBM notwithstanding); a rejection of external norms and authority in pursuit of internal vision.

Black metal's philosophy couldn't be stated more clearly and explicitly. It's important to remember, too.  It's important for black metal bands and listeners not to become a drove - a drove of opposition opposing other droves; that shouldn't be the imprint left by the black metal culture. Rather, it should be a conduit for consciousness, self-examination and internal vision.         

The works of Epta Astera are available for free download here:


Support the avant-garde and the free expression of music without the limiting effects of coercive institutions.