STEORRAH - The Altstadt Abyss

Steorrah - The Altstadt Abyss

7 songs
50:31 minutes
***** ***


Unusual band name, unusual album title, unusual music! That would be a simplified description of Steorrah from the Rhineland in Germany, but there is of course much more to the sophisticated arrangements from the four musicians. The Altstadt Abyss is the third album by the band and came out already in late 2018. I took me that long to write a review because the bandís strange sound made it hard for me to finally occupy myself with the album.

Even though many claim today to play progressive death metal, Steorrah certainly donít go the easy way with their songwriting that consists of a framework of complex structures. They always try to get the most out of their instruments, so donít expect any basic guitar riffs. The second track Sea Foam Empyrean, my personal highlight on the album, is a downright eargasm for prog metal fans. The crazy instrumentation will leave you with your mouth gaping wide open. The mood changes are done skilfully so that no one can complain about a lack of variety. The heavier and more brutal parts come with the expected growls, whereas the melodic vocals work much better for me. Especially on Saturnalia For Posterity and Wolves & Seagulls, the band is opening itself up to foreign influences and plays around with jazz elements. Where My Vessels Dwell is at twelve minutes the albumís magnum opus and comes with instrumental parts that show that band from its darkest, even most threatening side. Steorrah remind me here partly of Swiss prog thrashers Coroner. Up next is a short, moody instrumental piano piece, before the album ends with its title track. This is another tangled track full of unexpected twists and turns before it ends on a Pink Floydish part. Only the vocals sound a little off at times.

If you like your music heavy and experimental, then youíre at the right address with Steorrah. Songwriting and instrumentation are on incredibly high level, only the vocals canít quite keep up yet. Those who like the early works of Devin Townsend should risk an ear. Steorrah are definitely on the right track, and I am certain that with a little effort, they will come a long way.

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