Cool Bands from Elsewhere: Astral Cult’s The Sacred Flame

The music of a dying pagan god leading his witches, warlocks, and druids to consume the world for his survival, as monuments and empires crumble;

That's the best description I have the talent to write about this album. Haunting, howling clean vocals ushering in the impending doom of the ancients, this album slams as hard as it grooves, with a monstrous bass tone that sounds like the footsteps of a giant. The ghostly prophet belting his haunting tales, while the rest of the band grooves with Bassist Stefan Henskens and his world-ending bass guitar. The guitar riffs are the rushing river pushing you through these long songs with ease; never is there a dull moment in this sea of doom and gloom, and the drums control the pace like a marching snare to an army. The album opens with an almost four minute prayer to what I presume are ancient Egyptian gods, which not only sets the mood, but also is surprisingly relaxing, and absolutely hypnotizing. The album then shows it's true self with "Drowning", and lets the listener know that this is, in truth, the end times. The best thing about this album is how each song gels with the others. The album seems to have a VERY clear plan, and each song serves as a chapter in this land's final tale. From the quiet prayer before the war, upwardly moving like any story should,  and climaxing with "Quetzalcoatl", the beast finally slaughtered at the end of this 11 minute song. The final song, "The Sacred Flame" ties the ends together, and provides the resolution to this terrible war, but is certainly not uplifting; the end times have come, and the world is done. The song ends with another prayer while the remaining castles crumble into the huge cracks that open in the earth.

This album receives my highest recommendation to people who find an interest in the occult, in the end of the world, or people who love groove and doom metal. I also recommend this album to people who don't like metal because of the screaming, because there isn't a single scream on this album. Don't let that question it's heaviness however, this album is not weak.

These songs are for long drives, jamming, or for your imagination.

Favorite song: Call of the Wild

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