Review Summary: By the end of this, you’ll wish you were a star child too.
Want something different and a little out of the ordinary? This one manned project from Russia has got exactly what you’re looking for. Sole member, Lefthander (Sea Of Desperation among other acts), isn’t your everyday black metal solo artist. This is shown through his music, Starchildren
will be the fourth studio full length since the project’s humble beginnings in 2005 and is full of twists and turns promoting Lefthander’s left of field compositions. While most black metal acts opt for the bleakest, blackest or darkest themes Raxa, focuses on the Mayan civilisation and their ceremonial themes, which showcases how something along the path less trodden can be allowed to shine. This allows for the black metal and doom sections to shine through naturally, without forcing a single feature. Unfortunately for Starchildren
, it’s not really that accessible and to get to the mystique one must be able to traverse a few blackened metal stereotypes and the album’s overall quirkiness. Starchildren
is slightly innovative, pushing on some of the typical boundaries of the genre and at the same time manages to ignore the stigma of cheese and gimmickry that usually comes with doing something out of the box. As for the album, it’s thoroughly enjoyable, bouncy and downright weird enough not to be forgotten.
has a strong ethnic influence, tied in with even amounts of psychedelics and even splashes of the stoner genre. Thankfully the band doesn’t lose focus on their style allowing for Raxa’s 2013 record to sound polished and cohesive pulling bits from here and there to make Starchildren’s
rather unique sound. At forty four minutes, this ten track affair makes headway, hurtling through the genre whilst maintaining its distinct flair for creative song writing. Raxa makes use of conventional and unconventional soundscapes ensuring there’s enough going on to keep the listener busy. Sure enough, Starchildren
dabbles in copious amounts of atmospheric work too. With the deep and complex shaping found within the instrumental and atmospheric levels of the music, the vocals come out of the blow and play the secondary role. That’s far from saying that the deep growls are to be found under the guitar lines, instead they complement the music rather than trying to overpower them, further adding to the album as a whole. There’s an unsung hero to be found at various points within Starchildren’s
forty four minute run time. Every so often ethnic chanting appears, and what usually would be considered a gimmick promotes the Mayan/Aztec context to be found on the record, it’s far from going overboard and its subtlety allows for the effect to come and go as needed. Don’t be turned off by the band’s ability to cross over themes in such an excellent manner. It works, well enough to keep the interest of the listener throughout.
Album highlights come and go, more often than not they have the heavier doses of ethnic themes and atmospheric samplings. The first track ‘The Healer’ will often catch the first time listener off guard, just because its first few seconds don’t actually sound like anything from a black metal record. While the rest of the record leans more towards the straight forward black metal approach incorporating those already mentioned features without forcing the influence in a tedious and overbearing manner. The album is strongest where the context and instrumental display is bleaker, tracks like ‘The Sky Is Coming Back’ and ‘Scarificator’ have slightly darker overtones that permeate through the music, connecting with the listener at a cerebral level. Starchildren
is an almost unique record that blends some very common features together, of course the inclusion of Mayan themes was always going to be the record’s selling point, it just works out better than anticipated. All things considered, this is an album to look out for. It’s a little bit quirky, full of atmosphere and self creates a mystique presence. Pushing on the foundations of black and doom metal alike this one man project under the moniker of Raxa, presents some quality tracks without confusing the elements in his sound. Starchildren
is a prolific, unusual listen but never outstays its welcome and is well worth the time of the casual listener.