With the original version of “A Merging to the Boundless,” first released in early 2015, StarGazer once again garnered deserved accolades as one of the most provocative death metal bands in existence. To an even greater degree than the already grandiose preceding full-lengths, “The Scream that Tore the Sky” and “A Great Work of Ages,” this third album showcased the combined genius of three musicians whose talents have been honed not only as members of StarGazer, but also as contributors to several other well-regarded Australian bands, such as Martire and Mournful Congregation. As evidenced on this most recent album as well as on previous releases, StarGazer’s music is perhaps most conveniently labeled as a sort of avant-garde death metal due to its tendency to venture outside the parameters that traditionally have delimited the subgenre.
Two years after the initial release of “A Merging…,” the band once again has conspired with Nuclear War Now! to re-present this masterpiece, albeit this time in instrumental form, fully stripped of vocals. This version, entitled “A Merging to the Boundless: Void of Voyce,” is anything but a novelty release that is unique only as a superficial variation of the original. On the contrary, this version is akin to a living organism that molts its exoskeleton as a necessary stage in the process of assuming its more mature form. The absence of vocals allows the listener to more fully appreciate the incredibly complex songwriting and impeccable musicianship that are second to none in comparison with StarGazer’s peers. The startlingly skillful alternation between rampantly frenetic tempos and melodic serenity is more readily exposed, and each musical nuance, as subtle as it may be, is more fully uncovered and magnified. Further accentuating this release’s ability to stand on its own is the fully original visual layout that was designed to accompany it. Stefan Thanneur, the musical and artistic mastermind of France’s Chaos Echoes, was commissioned to create a new layout based on his unique aesthetic vision, featuring a silkscreen printed illustration on the outer plastic sleeve that merges perfectly with the A-side center label design when the LP is enclosed within. The result of this stunning package is one that appropriately honors a band that stands apart as true masters of their craft.
- C. Conrad
released May 1, 2017
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