Martyr of Star and Fire


ARISTARCHOS is a black metal band from Scotland; “Martyr of Star and Fire,” is their […]

ARISTARCHOS is a black metal band from Scotland; “Martyr of Star and Fire,” is their second full-length album. “Martyr of Star and Fire,” has a lot in common with a more aggressive style of black metal, especially the drums and vocals. As a whole, however, it’s leans towards a more atmospheric style, perhaps along the lines of DRUDKH, BLUT AUS NORD or DEATHSPELL OMEGA’s more out there material. The production is one of the more standout elements on it–not actually raw but rough enough that it still sounds grim and true even when it’s stepping outside the blackened box. All the instruments are in the mix even enough, helping the songwriting display its huge wall of sound without sounding messy and convoluted.

The runtime is solid too, four longer songs but it's still just about 32 minutes in length. Since it’s a “short” album, I’m going to say a little something about every song. The title track begins the album and gives a good overview of what to expect—all the songs sound different but this one sets the tone and if you enjoy it, you’ll have no issues with the rest of the album. It begins with quiet tones that suddenly launch into a blazing black metal tempo. The drums and bass slap, sending out shockwaves through the guitars which are much more atmospheric. The vocals are pretty much perfect—powerful, raw, and abrasive. The overall vibe is spacey vibes mixed with an arcane approach, the song sounding both sinister and expansive at the same time.

“Orb - Shadow Memories of the Enlived amid the Deathless Aether,” is a more direct experience in the beginning, a monstrous and towering song before the one minute mark even passes. Around the 3:30 mark, the song opens up, expanding out to clean tones and an almost serene vibe. The drums and whispered vocals highlight the passage, building it back up towards distorted fields. This song runs with the idea that being atmospheric and having unconventional passages ways doesn’t mean the journey still can’t take an extreme path. Why not both?

“Oath - Dispersal of the Spectral Awning in Perpetual Flame,” starts with ambient textures, sprawling out towards deep chants/moans that glide over a thick bed of double bass. The keys/synths are subtle, adding just enough to movement. Spacey, maybe even psychedelic, music bridges the gap to the halfway point. From there, the black metal dial gets turned up to 11 while carrying over the ideas that preceded it. It culminates into righteous fire and fury before an alien outro ends the song. Very interesting song with a different approach and the band nails it.

The final song is “Adornment - Endless Syzygies of the Constant Immaterial,” and it ends this unique journey in a grandiose fashion. Screaming, barking mad extreme vocals mix with the deep chants as a cacophony of drums and bass rip up the ground underneath. But the keys/synths create an ominous tone, adding a sense of foreboding to the aggression. Sparks of melody against sharp snare around the three minute mark steer the song in a new direction, this time to melancholic fields of somber sorrow. The ending minutes are rather violent before fading out to the final moments.

Aristarchos’ “Martyr of Star and Fire” is a rich album with an in depth atmosphere brought to life by a band not afraid to take a different approach to black metal. Anyone who prefers the primal power of the genre but needs something with a little more staying power and artistic vision would do well to check this beast out.

8 / 10









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"Martyr of Star and Fire" Track-listing:
  1. Atrium - Martyr of Star and Fire
  2. Orb - Shadow Memories of the Enlived amid the Deathless Aether
  3. Oath - Dispersal of the Spectral Awning in Perpetual Flame
  4. Adornment - Endless Syzygies of the Constant Immaterial


Aristarchos Lineup:


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