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AstorVoltaires : La Quintaesencia De Júpiter

Despite Juan C.'s impeccable Doom credentials, this latest solo work as AstorVoltaires is well-executed Post-Rock, at most melancholic rather than doomy.

Regular readers of Doom-metal.com may recall our 2018 interview with Juan Escobar C, the multi-instrumentalist behind solo project, AstorVoltaires, and be familiar with his other projects, Arrant Saudade and Aphonic Threnody. 'La Quintaesencia De Júpiter' sees Juan pick up AstorVoltaires after a lengthy hiatus, the last full-length release being 'Black Tombs For Dead Songs' way back in 2012.

It should be noted at the outset that this project represents a significant departure from anything even remotely representing Traditional Doom Metal; rather, it could more accurately described as Post-Rock. The album's sound arguably owes more to Glasgow noise merchants Mogwai, or to Godspeed You Black Emperor, than Saint Vitus. That said, there is some common ground between the sound Juan has created with AstorVoltaires and much of the material featured on the hallowed pages of Doom-metal.com. Heavy, it is not, but the melancholy, sombre tone of parts of the album may resonate with Doom fans looking, perhaps, for something to wind down to after a heavy night.

The album begins sparsely with the plaintive piano effects of opening track, 'Manifesto'. A moody instrumental track that ebbs and flows in a classic loud-quiet-loud Post-Rock style, it features excellent work on all instruments to create a sense of anticipation for the album to come. It comes close to really letting loose at times, but remains measured and controlled.

'Hoy' follows the promising opening track with a more varied and eclectic sound, expanding almost into Prog territory with keys effects reminiscent of the giants of '70s Prog Rock. The first track on the album to feature vocals, the musicianship is impressive, although the song does lack the sense of melancholy and undertone of menace of the opener. Any Doom influence is, for the most part, dispensed with. Vocals are soft and gentle, and the track has an airy, whimsical feel that is more uplifting than sorrowful. If that's your cup of tea as a listener, you may enjoy it, but for a dark-souled disciple of Doom like this reviewer, it's hard to get on the same page.

As the album continues, there are again moments of tension and melancholy, and in terms of the musicianship - especially for a solo project - it is impossible to fault. But while there are many positive and interesting moments, it does to often veer closer to soft rock than this reviewer cares to wander. The album is at its strongest in the lengthy instrumental passages where light and shade are explored, such as 'Arrebol', arguably the strongest track on the album, which has a dreamy, otherworldly feel that works well.

Overall, 'La Quintaesencia De Júpiter' is a chilled out Post-Rock blast tinged with melancholy that will divide opinion, but deserves a listen.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Manifiesto
2. Hoy
3. Un Gran Oceano
4. Thrinakia: El Reino Del Silencio
5. Un Nuevo Sol Naciente
6. Arrebol
7. La Quintaesencia De Júpiter
8. Mas Alla Del Hiperboreo

Duration : Approx. 48 minutes

Visit the AstorVoltaires bandpage.

Reviewed on 2020-02-24 by Nick Harkins
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