Book Of Black Earth Horoskopus

Book of Black Earth’s blend of old school death metal, melo-death and sludge influences, while not groundbreaking in the riff department, is fully entertaining and refreshingly straightforward. Possessing a swarthy, bottom-heavy production that accentuates the early ’90s feel of the songwriting, Horoskopus rarely speeds up past a mid-tempo jaunt and is better off for it. When the speed comes, it batters mercilessly and is complemented by doom-y diversions that pack a suffocating punch. Occasionally resembling other death acts that opt for atmosphere over brutality, such as Incantation and Dead Congregation, the group steer well clear of any current trends, aside from the occasional Swedish-inspired melodic thrash inclusion. They also take the time to include some chest-thumping groove that fills out the album’s dynamic range nicely. Vocally, the focus is on a fairly standard "cookie monster” growl, which, while serviceable, doesn’t quite suit the record as well as a more varied approach might. Nonetheless, Horoskopus is a satisfying release that shakes up a few tried and true formulas into a surprisingly effective concoction. (Prosthetic)