'Per Aspera ad Astra'
(Alles Stenar)


MARK: 97/100



Not too many Polish Black metal bands are worth being mentioned, yet this very little known band is undoubtely one of them, notwithstanding they've been around since 1991. For those who don't know the band and need a definition, I'd say their style can be kind of described as progressive symphonic Black metal, but there's a great deal of further elements making this 6-track debut CD above the average from beginning to end; violent riffs and vocals are placed side by side to undistorted electric guitar notes ("Dream About True Past", "Irresistible Temptation" and "Born from Hate"). The sounds are clean including the whole cymbal kit, the bass involving, the kick drums dry and not effected, so that this CD is one of the few sounding better in a hi-fi than in earphones. Who said that Black metal is a synonym of low-fi? Occulta is breaking down a lot of common places in that field with a disarming simplicity.

At the end of the first track there's place for a remarkable guitar solo by the guest musician Marek Karolski, followed by evocative vocals and keyboards again main characters. Occulta, the main man of this band, has sung and played all the rest and I can but say his riffing is really excellent and his screams pure North-European evil! The negative "Next Night Will Come" starts with an arpeggio to which a distorted guitar, depressive sing-song-like vocals and sinister bell tolls add themselves soon afterwards. It's an example of mid-paced song with a dynamical drumwork underground not only recurring to the typical blasts; then it's time for Occulta's freezing howls again and a stunning 6-string solo; never have I heard such skill and good taste within a Black metal song structure, trust me! Marek's feeling can be compared to the one of great virtuoso of Death Metal, James Murphy, one of those you can recognize among 1,000. 7 minutes of ecstasy for a masterpiece of Black metal already worth the buying of "Per Aspera ad Astra". "The Lord in the Sky" is based on the contrast between mid-tempoes and blast beats; very appreciated is the keyboards work one more time, here quite fresh and involving, and also played in a baroque manner, while "Fall of the Kingdom of Brightness" closes with the crow-like screams and the recitative vocals on sature distorted vocals. This song differs from the others because, if you listen to that carefully and read the lyrics, you'll notice it's powerful, yet not wicked like the others. As to the other lyrics they deal with several topics such as violence, satanism, warriors of the pure race; nothing new you'll say, nevertheless something that perfectly fits Thirst's proposed genre.

It's really a shame this band has had so hard an existance, since the recordings were made in 1997, but the CD wasn't released by another Polish label as it had to in a first moment, therefore leader Occulta had to wait until May 2003 for Marek Karolski's mastering. There's something positive in all this trouble of course, as now there's much less attention to the Black metal phenomenon and now that it's gone back to an underground level again, only true bands like Thirst can avail themselves on that, that is: less bands, more quality, less trendy people, more focus on the few that keep the flag high and without compromises.

The back and front covers are only in blue and white, and the whole CD oozes with a maximum level of inspiration by the genius Occulta. The only fault I can find in this CD is the bad English grammar and some pronunciation mistakes, but what matters is that the messages and the lyrics are understood, so let's pass this over for this time. It's surprising how true the saying Heaven helps those who help themselves is, for a one-man band and a session solist have achieved so high artistic levels with a considerable dose of musical originality that many experienced bands aren't able to do (anymore) that I really hope the Polish label is going to reprint their old tapes on CD or release some new stuff. I think you all are going to feel the same need as well, 'cause these are 31 minutes long, which is not little but they're so cool that I just can't take them off my CD player and I'm dying for more of Thirst. Which are very recommended if you liked the Emperor of "In the Nightside Eclipse"...



-Rehearsal demo
-The Might of the Pagan Belief (demo - Astral Wings records)
-Per Aspera ad Astra (CD - Alles Stenar - 2004)