"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Starkill - "Fires of Life" (CD)

Starkill - "Fires of Life" CD cover image

"Fires of Life" track listing:

1. Whispers of Heresy
2. Fires of Life
3. Sword, Spear, Blood, Fire
4. Below the Darkest Depths
5. Immortal Hunt
6. New Infernal Rebirth
7. Strength in the Shadow
8. This is Battle; This is Our Day
9. Withdrawn From All Humanity
10. Wash Away the Blood With Rain

Reviewed by on April 30, 2013

"The long and the short of it is that Starkill is essentially Dimmu Borgir meets Dragonforce, with a touch of Children of Bodom."

One of those “instant success” bands, Starkill hit the jackpot early, releasing debut album “Fires of Life” through a major metal label and starting a musical career touring with Hypocrisy and Arsis. Even if that was all just dumb luck, the young‘uns in Starkill clearly know how to construct some solid extreme metal tunes, because the album has already seen heavy comparisons with many other established acts across genre boundaries.

“Fires of Life” features a somewhat odd mix of colliding styles that actually work fairly well together. The base of the sound is dark black metal, filtered through a melodic death metal aesthetic, and then pretty much every song also throws in some tasty power metal riffage. There are loads of keyboards and lots of upbeat guitar acrobatics that interject into otherwise aggressive and menacing music. Topping it all off is a relentless onslaught of blast beating.

With the power metal leanings, and the standard blood and battle themed lyrics, these tracks do have a tendency to go over the top. Fairly long run times (most tracks land between five and seven minutes) give Starkill lots of time to switch between bombastic and devastatingly heavy. “Below the Darkest Depths” is a prime example, having a brutal Dethklok-esque sound in parts and then completely keyboard-focused melodies in others.

For some, Starkill may be a tad too familiar, as the polished sound is essentially a mash-up of several other prominent bands, and there isn’t a whole lot in the way of originality here. The long and the short of it is that Starkill is essentially Dimmu Borgir meets Dragonforce, with a touch of Children of Bodom. The kvlt extremists who don’t like to consider those aforementioned bands as true metal aren’t going to like the baby they birthed either, but if any or all of those acts work for you, this is an album to check out.

Highs: Polished sound that ranges from evil black metal to high-energy power metal.

Lows: The music is a bit over the top and can't quite decide which direction it wants to go.

Bottom line: This young band pulls out the big guns early, effectively mashing together the styles of prominent black, death, and power acts.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)