Astral Winter is a one-man melodic black metal band from Tasmania Australia. They were formed in 2008 by Josh Young (also in Atra Vetosus, Hammerstorm, Lost in Desolation) and next year Phil Hemsworth joined him in the vocals. With this line-up the band released the demo “Illustrations of Death” in 2009 via Josh Young’s own label Immortal Frost Productions (Josh left the label and now Surtur from Belgium runs it). In 2011 Phil left the band, so Astral Winter became solo project again. The same year the debut full-length album “Winter Enthroned” was released by Immortal Frost Productions.
“Winter Enthroned” contains the 3 basic songs of the demo re-recorded, plus 3 new songs and 3 instrumental interludes. So there are totally 9 songs in the album with a duration over 55 minutes. Astral Winter play melodic black metal with epic and symphonic elements. The band has a somehow sharp sound and their music is based on the combination of melodic, technical and fast guitars with symphonic keyboards and atmospheric piano parts. Josh sings with black metal screams and very few clean vocals and choirs. I believe his vocals is the only 100% black metal element in Astral Winter’s sound, since their music is very melodic, with wonderful guitar solos and often an almost progressive symphonic power metal approach. Of course there are faster and more aggressive parts too, always under a melodic prism. Many atmospheric instrumental and acoustic parts, as well as 3 instrumental songs, add a bigger variety in their sound. Anyway this is a genre Josh will explore better in his next totally acoustic album! His lyrics deal of course with epic fantasy and winter themes and you can find them in the CD booklet.
The debut album of Astral Winter is a very decent effort and the result more than satisfying. There are many great moments in the album, but there are also some weaker parts. I believe that with a better production and a more natural sound things would be already much better. I’d also like to see a bigger variety in the vocals, since the few clean male vocals and choirs sounded really interesting! In any case “Winter Enthroned” is a promising epic melodic black metal debut and fans of the genre better listen to. It is released by Immortal Frost Productions in a limited to 300 copies jewel case edition with 12-page booklet, whose artwork is by Antonio Jimenez. In 2013 Astral Winter released their second album, the totally acoustic “Perdition” and they are already preparing their next album “Forest of Silence“, back to their melodic black metal style. Follow the links below for sound samples from all of their works.