Astaroth Merc is one of the best known metal musicians in Ukraine, or at least he is as far as his extreme side is concerned, thanks to his solo project Raventale, with which he has been raging for about fifteen years; he has recorded about ten full lengths since 2006, all of them ranging from good to excellent quality. In all these albums the musician from Kiev has almost always offered an inspired black metal, melodic, atmospheric but at the same time abrasive, however, always bringing some new element between one release and the other; the white fly in the production of Astaroth Merc is Morphine Dead Gardens with which he decides to penetrate in all and for all in the dark caverns of the funeral. This decision may surprise many, but not those who know Raventale‘s discography, full of passages in which doom metal is outlined as a distinctive element of the project’s approach to black and, to prove it, there is the participation in 2017 at Doom Over Kiev, probably the most important festival in the world when it comes to the genre in its extreme side. It cannot be ruled out that the idea of recording a funeral album was born as a result of that experience but, as has been said many times, such an approach cannot be improvised unless one has aptitude and knowledge of the subject. The Ukrainian musician, in exactly one hour spread over five tracks, offers a jewel dripping with pain wrapped in a melodic and atmospheric drape that has nothing to envy to the great bands of the distant past (Shape Of Despair) and near past (Comatose Vigil, Colosseum); curiously enough, it’s more or less at the same time that Red Moon Architect released another wonderful “one-off” funeral album, and this detail makes us understand how the musical sensibility of high-profile composers like Astaroth Merc and Saku Moilanen can sometimes be exacerbated, finding its natural outlet in the most cathartic of musical genres.

2019 – Ashen Dominion