Rating:
8.5
Pulsar Colony - Snowball Earth
29 November 2011


01. Wounded Animal Of The Four Elements
02. Snowball Earth
03. Absolute Zero
04. Pillars Of Creation
05. Ancestral Recall
06. Calypso
07. Of Frostfang Origin
08. To Pluto And Beyond


Digital release only, streamed in full here.


Pulsar Colony is a relatively new project created by Charles Sabo back when he began recording the instrumental tracks for what would eventually become Snowball Earth back in 2009. Two years later he would throw in some vocals and upload it to his Bandcamp page for the world to hear.

Thankfully he did, because this is some pretty interesting stuff.

Aside from the cover art, this is fairly original for what it is. It's not like we have to make up an entirely new genre for it*, but it does well enough to stand out from the rest of the black metal scene. It mixes a lot of progressive elements in with a rather strange form of electronica, sometimes delving into a surreal sort of psychedelia only to crash down hard with a purely vile vengeance. Sabo's vocals sound like a mix between Mikko Aspa (of Deathspell Omega fame) and Kevin Jones (Towards Darkness - who release their new album in two days, coincidentally), which a variety of extreme metal fans should appreciate.

Sabo has chosen to wander through the album at little more than a snail's pace in black metal terms, slowing down even more to show off his skill with the half-dozen instruments that make their appearance over the course of 70 minutes. That's right, you're in for quite a lengthy journey if you plan on sitting through this from beginning to end, with the shortest track clocking in at over eight minutes. This all adds to the album's trippy atmosphere, providing a sort of Pink Floyd effect that might have you looking towards the sky late at night wondering, What the fuck am I doing with my life? Or maybe you just inject some opiates and chill the fuck out. I'm not your mom.

Back on track (length), if you take pride in your endurance and are on the lookout for forward-thinking extreme metal, there isn't any reason why you shouldn't enjoy what Sabo has to offer. His avant-garde approach should appease fans of black metal as well as his influences - which range anywhere from Mastodon and Tool to Neurosis and Gojira. It's a lot to digest and it's a bit of a challenge, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

* Okay, maybe we have to call it like, experimental atmospheric post-blackened progressive sludge metal or something. That should be ridiculous enough for the masses, no?

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 10.03.2012 by
Troy Killjoy
Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.
More reviews by Troy Killjoy ››



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Boxcar Willy - 10.03.2012 at 18:04  
Experimental atmospheric post-blackened progressive folkgrindsludge ambient gorefuck metal.

More appropriate.
Troy Killjoy - 10.03.2012 at 18:07  
No folk, no grind, no gore, not ambient.

Not as appropriate.
Milena - 10.03.2012 at 23:32  
The cover looks like an image I snapped with a cellphone in the local park... looks nice, but not exactly a big achievement in photography.
Troy Killjoy - 10.03.2012 at 23:36  
Written by Milena on 10.03.2012 at 23:32
The cover looks like an image I snapped with a cellphone in the local park... looks nice, but not exactly a big achievement in photography.

Ya I'd probably give the cover a 4/10 on its own.

But I'd give your picture a 9/10 because it's yours.
Milena - 10.03.2012 at 23:44  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 10.03.2012 at 23:36

Ya I'd probably give the cover a 4/10 on its own.

But I'd give your picture a 9/10 because it's yours.

You got a chuckle out of me. I'll upload it somewhere when I find it, you have no idea how similar they are.
Boxcar Willy - 11.03.2012 at 03:24  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 10.03.2012 at 18:07

No folk, no grind, no gore, not ambient.

Not as appropriate.

I just wanted to see how many genres I could add into one.
Edmund Fogg - 11.03.2012 at 04:18  
Nice review. Thx for giving the album (and artist) the chance to shine it truly deserves. And for the genre deffinition (I can already picture the staff trying to pinpoint a genre if the awards were still going haha) why not just call it Metal.
Troy Killjoy - 11.03.2012 at 04:23  
Written by Edmund Fogg on 11.03.2012 at 04:18
...why not just call it Metal.

Not possible, especially if we're trying to narrow it down to a specific group - in which case it'd either be black metal or avant-garde/experimental.

It's a really strong album, regardless of genre.
raul m - 11.03.2012 at 17:34  
Written by Edmund Fogg on 11.03.2012 at 04:18

Nice review. Thx for giving the album (and artist) the chance to shine it truly deserves. And for the genre deffinition (I can already picture the staff trying to pinpoint a genre if the awards were still going haha) why not just call it Metal.

Actually, "Death Metal" is sadly the umbrella term that the uninitiated seem to use for every extreme subgenre of metal nowadays.
Edmund Fogg - 11.03.2012 at 23:29  
Written by raul m on 11.03.2012 at 17:34

Actually, "Death Metal" is sadly the umbrella term that the uninitiated seem to use for every extreme subgenre of metal nowadays.


I don't see how anyone (even a non Metal listener) could call that Death Metal. And even then, I think ther's nothing really sad about that. It's like having 2 anthropologist speaking and saying it's sad that most people confuse era x and era y. Everyone has different fields of expertise.
Marcus - 11.03.2012 at 23:34  
A little too out there for me. I could only get about halfway through
Sonic MrSumo - 11.03.2012 at 23:34  
You've managed to reference three of my favourite bands in this review; Tool, Mastodon and Gojira. I obviously need to check this out...
Troy Killjoy - 11.03.2012 at 23:37  
Written by Marcus on 11.03.2012 at 23:34
A little too out there for me. I could only get about halfway through

For shame, Marcus. For shame!
Sonic MrSumo - 11.03.2012 at 23:39  
Am hearing later Soundgarden in some of the riffs of track 1.
Troy Killjoy - 11.03.2012 at 23:41  
Written by Sonic MrSumo on 11.03.2012 at 23:39
Am hearing later Soundgarden in some of the riffs of track 1.

Possibly. These guys incorporate just about every influence they have into their sound.

Don't be surprised if you can name-drop over a dozen bands by the end of it.
Marcus - 11.03.2012 at 23:57  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 11.03.2012 at 23:37

For shame, Marcus. For shame!

Oh Troy, find it in your heart to forgive me!:cry:
Troy Killjoy - 11.03.2012 at 23:58  
Written by Marcus on 11.03.2012 at 23:57
Oh Troy, find it in your heart to forgive me!:cry:

Well, you read my review, commented, and listened to the music.

I'd say you're forgiven.
Sonic MrSumo - 12.03.2012 at 00:28  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 11.03.2012 at 23:41

Don't be surprised if you can name-drop over a dozen bands by the end of it.

Out of curiosity, how many times did you listen to it prior to being rewarded by your efforts; i.e. "It's a lot to digest and it's a bit of a challenge, but the rewards are well worth the effort"?
Troy Killjoy - 12.03.2012 at 00:32  
Written by Sonic MrSumo on 12.03.2012 at 00:28
Out of curiosity, how many times did you listen to it prior to being rewarded by your efforts; i.e. "It's a lot to digest and it's a bit of a challenge, but the rewards are well worth the effort"?

Second listen. First listen I couldn't form an opinion because I didn't know wtf I was supposed to be listening to.

Second time I was like. Oh wow. This makes sense.
Sonic MrSumo - 12.03.2012 at 00:54  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 12.03.2012 at 00:32

Second time I was like. Oh wow. This makes sense.

'tis indeed a tough listen...last 3 tracks gave me incentive enough to listen to it a second time.
Troy Killjoy - 12.03.2012 at 00:56  
Written by Sonic MrSumo on 12.03.2012 at 00:54
'tis indeed a tough listen...last 3 tracks gave me incentive enough to listen to it a second time.

It definitely ends strong. I mean I think the entire thing is strong, but thankfully the ending is strong enough to entice you enough to listen to it again.
~Starchild~ - 12.03.2012 at 01:07  
Listening to it right now, and I like what I hear. It's great to see you back Troy - finally I'm discovering awesome black metal bands again And great review, as always!
Troy Killjoy - 12.03.2012 at 01:12  
Written by ~Starchild~ on 12.03.2012 at 01:07
Listening to it right now, and I like what I hear. It's great to see you back Troy - finally I'm discovering awesome black metal bands again And great review, as always!

Glad to hear it. And thanks! There will be many more recommendations from me on the front page.
Merchant of Doom - 12.03.2012 at 12:46  
I stopped listening when the sitar surfaced... my least favourite instrument of all time! Can't keep Ravi Shankar or Oregon off my head, now... Very interesting album, nevertheless. I'll give it another go ASAP.
raul m - 12.03.2012 at 13:19  
Written by Edmund Fogg on 11.03.2012 at 23:29

I don't see how anyone (even a non Metal listener) could call that Death Metal.

You'd be surprised. While I was listening to Abominable Putridity someone came up to me and asked me if it was Suicide Silence.
Ag Fox - 15.03.2012 at 16:10  
Quote:
if you take pride in your endurance
guess I must check this out then...
Ag Fox - 25.03.2012 at 06:09  
Wow, great stuff indeed
Boxcar Willy - 14.06.2012 at 19:03  
Sitar?

I was not aware of its includence (that's a word now) in this, will check ASAP.

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