Review – Strafk: Phaseshifting

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Review – Strafk: Phaseshifting
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Strafk: Phaseshifting
Ambience, Doom Metal, Progressive Black Metal
Wraith Productions
May 13th, 2014
Release length: 21:16
Strafk is a two-piece group composed of band members Leegheid and Stof. This Russian act was born in 2013, finding home with Wraith Productions for their 2014 debut Phaseshifting, a collection of Doom Metal, Black Metal, and even blackened Hard Rock elements that sometimes can be as psychadelic as they are lost in the Science Fiction cosmos. Of course, this is about all that you can really go by about this “mysterious” act, leaving little to be discovered even in the accompanying press release. But, lack of history aside, is this EP worth giving a shot, or is it far from interesting?

“Phase I – (Void)stare” starts off as a scatching Black Metal performance that the hushed deeper vocals suit nicely. About two minutes in that hostility suddenly changes, incorporating some Satyricon Rock into the industrialized distortions and space-fuelled background effects. The first half of “Phase II – Inner Distortion” ends up a catchy somewhat instrumental piece that sounds more like a Cynic experience that picks up a harsher blackened touch that wraps up on the cold side. That chill is carried into “Phase III – Death and Decay of” after a brief Ambient introduction that gives the latter Industrial soaked riffs more of a dismal astral environment the distorted dialogue and additional technical noises and beeps amplify into “Phase IV – The New Ebomidment,” carrying a very tense, ominous, ear-piercingly shrill eighties Science Fiction film score that ends with a decent amount of closure.

Phaseshifting is an interesting little journey to say the least. While “Phase I – (Void)stare” sounds like the band intended to go straight Black Metal, abandoning the idea very quickly for Industrial, Ambient, and Progressive Black Metal sometimes layered in a cold Doom Metal coating. The whole thing flows smoothly into one another, though at a rather slow pace. Sadly that becomes one of the problems. While there’s a decent amount of variety, only the first two minutes and astral elements of “Phase IV – The New Embodiment” seem to break from the band’s safe zone, leading to long performances that feel like they could have achieved the same impact not only cut down a bit, but if each track flowed into one another seamlessly to make it one long song. All that aside, Phaseshifting is a rather niche recording and if you fall into this sort of take on the style, Strafk‘s debut is worth checking out, though may not have you coming back too often.

01. Phase I – (Void)stare – 5:46
02. Phase II – Inner Distortion – 5:29
03. Phase III -Death and Decay of – 5:12
04. Phase IV – The New Embodiment – 4:49
Initial Pressing Score: 6/10

Strafk

Digital review copy of this release provided by Wraith Productions.