AstorVoltaires – Katan Nagantü …   Leave a comment

AstorVoltaires is a one-man band lead by Juan Escobar who is perhaps best known as the vocalist and keyboard player in Mar de Grises. Juan has been involved with many bands over the years including Aura Hiemis, Lethargy of Death, Delonelyman, BitchBoys, Defectoscura, Fosa Comvn, Golem, Aseidad,Bauda, Zohak, Subtenebras, Nibdem, Sea Of Grey and I am sure there is even a couple more bands I have forgotten to mention. Being more or less a solo album, it explores another side to this musician which has resulted in something much lighter and melodic than his regular doom outlets. It would even be a big call to even class this as doom-metal although at times it does sound a little like Katatonia but for the most part, this is more of a prog meets folk rock experiment with elements of doom and death metal thrown into the melting pot so it is similar to bands like Kauan as it is even a bit poppy in parts. This has been released on the Endless Winter label.

The album still maintains the melancholic darkness associated with doom-metal but this is pretty light in the guitar department as its focus more on piano, acoustic guitar and keyboards. Occasionally it gets a bit complex with prog-rock elements but the overall key to this album is melody and emotional lyrics although I had to find that out the hard way as the songs are sung in Spanish. I don’t know too many people though that would go through the trouble of translation like I do but it can be worth it sometimes. Musically I must say, most of this kept my attention while just a few moments I felt were verging on the tedious. The tracks I do like though are great and very inventive in their own way. “Busco un Final” is one of the better tunes as it has a mesmerizing melody and great vocal hooks despite being sung in a language I don’t understand. “Vísperas de Dulces Melodias Cósmicas” has a hypnotic vocal chant and an excellent bass line but it has been rather unfairly left to being the last track on the album.

My favorite tune here is “Fuente” that is given a nimble beat and a very dramatic atmosphere which is in sharp contrast with the soothing, laid back moods that the bulk of the album is built around. Oddly enough I found the album’s opener “Máscara” to be the weakest track on the album and I almost hit eject right then, lucky I persevered as “Katan Nagantü” turned out to be a very engaging recording overall. What I find to be most effective is the way the album flows in melancholy but still has bursts of aggression that fit very nicely and don’t just sound like a after-thought like they do on similar albums. I think this album will appeal to fans of Mar de Grises who have a genuine interest in what Juan is expressing with this solo venture. More traditional fans of doom-metal may find this a bit light on the riffage despite the album having a couple of crushing guitar passages. Conclusion – This is varied, fairly diverse, sometimes complex both thematically and lyrically but overall pretty inventive. Juan Escobar should be proud of this work…..8/10
AstorVoltaires @ Myspace
Endless Winter’s Official Website


Posted January 7, 2011 by doommantia in AstorVoltaires

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