STEORRAH – The Altstadt Abyss
The German outfit named Steorrah performs an interesting mixture of death metal, doom metal, and progressive rock, and I might as well start off by telling you that the result is quite satisfying and intriguing. Truth be told, it took me ages to really get into this album properly, but once I did, I became fascinated with it and it has ended up serving me very well during this rather bleak and rain-soaked autumn.
There are plenty of interesting musical experiments present on "The Altstadt Abyss" and these guys cover quite a lot of emotional ground simply because the songs constantly shift and mutate into something else. In that sense, there is a strong emphasis on unpredictability in play here, but the majority of tunes sound neither disjointed nor unstructured, If anything, they come across as cohesive and coherent, and somehow those murky death metal parts just flow seamlessly into jazzy prog rock sections without you knowing how or why they did that, but that is the beauty of this 7-track output. Its raw and unpolished production also fits in like a glove in that it makes the music even more unpleasant and claustrophobic to listen to. Do not get me wrong; there are some excellent (and somewhat intricate) melodies and truly moving passages to be found on this one, but in the overall perspective, it does have a rather oppressive and foul mood to it, which is awesome. The vocals are at times a little uneasy on the ear, but that works in favor of the depressive atmosphere of each track.
Granted, this is not one of those records that I could listen to everyday or even on a regular basis, but when the mood for something challenging, left-field, and utterly dark presents itself, then "The Altstadt Abyss" does the trick. It is 50 minutes long and might be a tad difficult to absorb and digest at times, but it is one of those albums that needs to grow on you, so have patience, okay? It is undoubtedly a layered and textured not to mention varied affair that open-minded listeners ought to check out.