|Artwork by Fortifem|
To this day I own less than a dozen cassettes and half a dozen pieces of vinyl. Heck, I haven't even owned anything to play those formats on in well over two decades. But I've proudly kept onto my 1990 Demo, 1992 Faded Dream promo and the two 7"'s released in 1991 from the mighty (and criminally underrated) Mindrot. Why am I mentioning this in the first place? The reason being, there's a lineage going on here. From the ashes of Mindrot, guitarist Daniel Kaufman & bassist Matt Fisher formed Eyes of Fire. Taking the Mindrot sound into a more straightforward and post metal direction on an EP & two full length albums (all on Century Media Records), the apathetic metal community shrugged its collective shoulders and let another amazing concoction fade into obscurity.
Not one to simply give up, Daniel Kaufman pressed on and took with him Nick Bernardi (drummer of Eyes of Fire) to form Destroy Judas. So where does this new beast sit musically? I'd say somewhere between those prior two bands. It still contains the doomy sludge and the post metal aesthetics of a California band, while retaining the soundscapes and grit of atmospheric death metal.
Forever Like Stars...We Shine is 38 minutes, which is one track in three movements. The first movement (approx 16-17 minutes) is an instrumental soaked with atmosphere that slowly builds to a furious climax of noise and frantic guitar picking. It isn't until the 18 minute mark (and I presume the 2nd movement) that any vocals make their appearance. If you were a fan of Eyes of Fire, the approach is similar (even though this is a different vocalist), sorta a gruff angst, that's not quite death metal. The 21 minute mark then kicks off what strongly reminds me of old school Mindrot: the tribal like drumming, the death metal vocals (yes, they do change styles here) and the guitar riffs, which pay a nice homage to a band that never received its just due. The 3rd movement begins at 28 minutes and quickly changes pace. It begins with nothing but atmospheric keyboards that make you think of the dark sky at night, the stars gently glistening against the moonlight. Even though it's an abrupt change of direction, it works splendidly to give you time to absorb what you just experienced. It once agains builds before erupting before coming to a sudden end. And I say 'experience' as opposed to 'heard' because this isn't an album you just passively listen to. Sure, you can do that, but you're cheating yourself out of what it attempts to deliver. That is an emotional journey that climbs, explodes and then comes back down to earth for its final rest.
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And if you like what you hear, you can also pick up their 2011 debut, Wake, as a Name Your Price download.