Costa Rican killers Astriferous launch swirling death metal on ‘Pulsations From the Black Orb’

Have you ever bought a record based on the title? I honestly can’t remember if I ever did that. When I wore a younger man’s clothes, I know I bought albums based on the cover art, something I don’t recommend in the current era. But the title? Don’t think I ever did that one. But maybe today’s entry would change my mind.

Costa Rican death metal maulers Astriferous are coming at you with their debut full-length offering “Pulsations From the Black Orb,” and how can you not be intrigued by that title? The music is death metal that pushes the boundaries of time and space, and at 34 minutes, it gets in, makes its point, gets out with you fully devastated. The band—guitarist/vocalist Federico Gutiérrez, guitarist/vocalist Felipe Tencio, bassist/vocalist José Pablo Phillips, drummer José María Arrea—pays off on the promise of their smaller releases with this record that is imaginative and punishing all at the same time.

“Intro (The Black Orb)” starts with strange whirring and zaps, rubbery weirdness, and the tone of this intro cut diving into “Blinding the Seven Eyes of God” that arrives with a riff attack. Infernal howls dig into the guts as the playing gets speedier and rowdier, and then the soloing engulfs in flames. Things slow down and get more flexible, growls lurch, and everything burns away. “Teleport Haze” mangles as the growls wrench, and the tempo hits the gas dangerously, blinding and squeezing your neck. Guitars then hulk as the intensity piles on thick, and the playing chugs and leaves bruising. “Metasymbiosis” delivers aggressive riffs and a plodding bass that begins to accumulate a body count. Total decimation arrives amid sinewy playing and a storming assault, and the power continues to unload as the guitars soar. The playing then slows and sludges, growls mash, and the savagery melts away.

“Forlorn and Immemorial” is a quick interlude with chilling winds, acoustics swirling, and a classic metal feel woven into the passage, moving toward “Ominous and Malevolent” with trudging mauling and guitars scaling. The playing erupts as the growls chew holes in flesh, and the ground crumbles beneath you, opening a pit in the earth. The playing drills, the soloing sears, and hellish chaos encompasses everything. “Lunomancy” lets vicious growls spill over, the playing tangling and blistering, the intensity smashing through boundaries. The playing unloads as the growls menace, the guitars loop, and heavy devastation leaves everything in cinders. “Symmetries That Should Not Be” closes the album by drubbing and flattening with a slow-driving attack, the thunder pulsing through muscle. The growls destroy as the pace levels buildings, warped heat mars senses, and a guttural, abrupt end dices guts.

“Pulsations From the Black Orb” not only is an incredible name for a record, but it’s a promising debut full-length from this band of death metal crushers who have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Astriferous create something interesting and mind-warping with these eight tracks, and the compact running time means that the impact is direct and economical. This is a devastating first shot from a band that’s just getting  started and already is this deadly.

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