Review: StarGazer “Psychic Secretions” [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

Review: StarGazer “Psychic Secretions” [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

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The Australian extreme avant-garde formation StarGazer has returned with their fifth full-length album “Psychic Secretions” through the Nuclear War Now! Productions. And that’s a significant event; they exist more than 25 years now, paying pedantic and meticulous attention not only to the serious song-writing process, but also to recording sessions.

There is some feeling of pure permanence, as well as a total unique sense of newness, not many bands can achieve this, staying in their own created stylistic borders, but adding brand new experimental views. No doubt, the musicians are very slow and laborious in the progress of their music, empowering almost with mysterious precision and firmness, never really caring for the stylistic boundaries. On “Psychic Secretions” symbolic allusions meet the technical nerdiness, and every tiny element here is just as important as the general black/death metal directness.

“Psychic Secretions” isn’t a typical black/death metal release, even technical side can’t unveil the mistiness of esoteric aura, everything here is combined so traditionally, at first glance, but overall mood and specific elements overwhelm with irrational uniqueness. The tempo on this record is changeable, and the fastest parts mainly refer to black metal core, but the slowest are linked to the transitional shifts, like suppression of aggression or demonstration of mastery of their bass-guitarist (“Hooves”).

The Nordic black metal (“The occidental Scourge”) is a rare vision on this record, as well as straightforward death metal, StarGazer prefers progressive ingenuity (“Evil olde Sol”) to classical death metal roughness. But they are also familiar with thrash/speed metal era (“Lash of the Tytans”), which keeps the album more grounded in this constant avant-garde current. Disharmonic and almost creepy sounding guitar riffs obscure the melodic lines, making them messier, but technical elements and distant echoes of progressive era of “Death” emphasize the sophisticated side of the release. Guitar work is truly amazing, sometimes creating the chaotic instability, hinting on some sort of psychedelic games. Acoustic tracks (introduction “Simulacrum” and “Pilgrimage”) are pensive and refined, and the occult choirs on the last song mystify the general climate. The singing also varies – from low and muted screams and deep and emotional growls to calm and clean vocals, so no way, every fucking detail is perfectly placed, but in such non-traditional way, that all black/death metal clichés are forgotten in this authentic avant-garde masterpiece.

Of course, such distinctive blend of musical statements is always welcomed; the rare appearances of StarGazer make them more precious, and “Psychic Secretions” proved that the time is worth waiting for. Anyway, the musicians are busy in numerous other extreme projects, but StarGazer is really special for them, as well as for the lovers of strict experimental music.

Release date: February 1, 2021

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