With a sound steeped in the scythe-swinging, melodic majesty of ’90s black metal, Sweden’s Astrophobos have drawn critical comparisons to the deified Dissection since the January release of their impressive full-length debut, ‘Remnants Of Forgotten Horrors’. “It’s definitely a compliment, since we grew up listening to bands like that, but even if we play no-frills black metal, we want to create our own identity,” says vocalist/bassist Micke Broman, when asked whether comparisons to Dissection and early Naglfar are a positive or something the band feel they need to overcome. Guitarist Jonas Ehlin adds: “[’90s black/death metal] is the music that binds us together. However, we don’t really put much effort in making it sound ‘just like it did in the ’90s’. We play the music that comes natural to us, and we would never throw away a good riff just because it doesn’t sound like something from that era. So I think it’s more the chemistry between us as musicians that results in the way Astrophobos sounds.”
Taking their name from the title of a poem found amongst the ungodly works of H.P. Lovecraft, Astrophobos’ lyrics, at times, read as though they were summoned forth from the same yawning abyss as that of the much cited author. So what is it about Lovecraft’s writing that inspires the band? “Well, we’re not very interested in having Satanic lyrics, and horror fiction has themes that go well with the music,” Micke explains. “Lovecraft’s stories deal with things like fear, the end of the world, and madness, with a kind of gloomy and poetic streak in the style of writing, which also goes well with black metal, I think. But if you see his style of writing in the lyrics, it’s not completely conscious, and I have many other stylistic inspirations.” There you have it: Astrophobos, a Swedish band sourced from a sacrosanct well of inspiration, yet fiercely driven to carve their own distinctive mark into the time-ravaged face of black metal.
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