Doomed Dark Years is the first full length album by the Greek black metal band Astarte. Astarte is made up of four members. They are Tristessa, Kinthia, Nemesis, and Ice, all females. Thats not something you see everyday in the black metal world. If you're a black metal fan, you might just write this band off just because they are females. If you do, you're missing one of the most underrated black metal albums ever. This album is really the only Astarte album worth listening to, but its a real gem. This is Doomed Dark Years.
When I first listened to this album the first thing I thought of was Transilvanian Hunger by Darkthrone. The reason I though of that is because this album is very minimalistic and very repetitive, but it makes the album that much better. The guitars are nothing special. Most of the time the guitarists play very slow and simple riffs. This album really isn't fast at all. Although the riffs are very simple, they are also really melodic and help create a great black metal atmosphere. The bass is never really heard at all. The drumming on this album reminds me of a much slower and more simple version of Fenriz. Not many blast beats on this album, but the drums definitely help keep the slow, simple pace of the album. There are also some folk instruments mixed in on this album. You can hear a flute playing more than once throughout the album.
I think the vocals deserve their own paragraph because they are absolutely amazing. Tristessa aka Lady Lilith shows off one of the best vocal performances I have ever heard on a black metal album. I think the fact that she is a girl helps her in this case because it helps her pull off the high pitched shriek that she does even better. To me, she kind of sounds like a mix between Knjaz Varggoth from Nokturnal Mortum and Sakis Tolis from Rotting Christ. She has the raspy edge like Sakis, but also the high pitched voice like Knjaz. When they are mixed it sounds amazing. Her first scream at the beginning of The Rise of Metropolis is absolutely amazing and that song has become one of my favorites in black metal.
Basically, this album is amazing. Very simple and very slow, but the atmosphere is amazing and thats really the number one thing you try to accomplish when making a black metal album. If you are a fan of bands like Nokturnal Mortum, Rotting Christ, or earlier Darkthrone albums you definitely should check this out because it is a great mix of the more grim and raw side of black metal, but also the symphonic side. This is an extremely underrated black metal album that needs to be heard by black metal fans everywhere. Like I said earlier, this is really the only album worth checking out from Astarte. In more recent albums they make a move towards melodic death metal mixed with a little bit of black metal.