StarGazer – Gloat/Borne

Band: StarGazer
Title: Gloat/Borne
Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
Release date: 28 February 2020
Country: Australia
Format reviewed: Digital Promo

It has been a while since I heard something new from Australia. For some reason for me, judging where bands come from is half the fun, often enough it can tell you where they seek inspiration, what their strengths are and so forth.

STARGAZER did not fall out of the metal tree yesterday, in fact, in 1996 and 1997 they released a demo and an EP labeled “Gloat” and “Borne”. And now, naturally, comes the compilation “Gloat/Borne”. Pretty neat idea, right?

I assume it is the most convenient way to reissue the first material they produced once the band started out, but since than various materials have seen the light of day, including four full length albums. Now, I have to admit, my initial feeling when giving this compilation a first run-through was that this is the worst thing I had ever heard. In fact, it was almost unlistenable. The first six tracks are from the 1996 “Gloat” demo, and what strikes first is the fact that the production is just awful, it’s like a recording on a 4-track TASCAM cassette recorder in a live environment and is mostly just a fast pile of noise.

However, if you are capable of looking past that, you will be able to hear the music that is hidden within. Quite technical type of death metal, and it’s a given that they are tight. Blazing drums, fast double bass and on par guitar riffs. Rather simple and I suppose what you are looking for in such work. Vocals range from distorted screams to guttural growls and this is over all what defines the first half of the compilation. Surely if the production was better the skill of the members would be more obvious, and therefore appreciated.

The second part is from the 1997 “Borne”. The same recording routine appears to apply; however the vocals are a bit more on the black metal side. Given that this was released a year after “Gloat”, there has been some polishing in the sound and it is easier to listen to, Abstract Flames Burn White even reflects a little bit of Nile, although without the obvious Egyptian influence. Over all this is an interesting legacy by a band I am quite clueless over, the performance is there, the songs are there and for those who like technical death/black metal this could hit the right spot. It deserves a better recording, but I suppose home recordings in the mid 90´s weren’t as easy as they are today. I´m glad this piece of metal history has survived and made it to the public again, there are things to take note from here and these guys deserve more cred than they have gotten so far. 7/10 – for what it is; a historical document more than a new release. Juia Katrin

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7/10 Victory is possible
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