Album Title: 
Bottom Astral
Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Review Type: 

Burtul are a Saint Petersburg-based combo that now, after four years of existence, debut with their first full length, Bottom Astral, done via mighty Satanath Records. On this album, the band consisted of Ilya (b), Dima (g), Krom (g), S.D.I. (d), and Cherepan (v); Dima and S.D.I. left in mean time, by the way.

Bottom Astral is a nasty thirteen-tracker with great cover artwork (but that’s rather irrelevant, but not inappropriate to mention). The album opens with Hospes, which immediately gives a very appropriate idea of Burtul’s SS (sonic sweetness). It sounds like a mixture of old styled and primal Death Metal with a focus on the USDM-scene, and technical Grindcore with a d-beat injection. It rams and hammers whole the time, with a fierce tempo and a slightly technical lead-approach, accompanied by ultra-heavy rhythms and mostly deep, guttural grunts. The main tempo is fast to even faster, but there are a couple of slower passages. But don’t make a mistake by thinking these slower parts are of a ‘softer’ kind. No, even when Burtul slow down, they maintain their overpowering and ultra-burtul, eh, ultra-brutal approach. …like it must be…

For the better part, Burtul do not renew the scene – at all. But from time to time they seem to bring something impressively differing, like in that mostly nasty track Burbah, or their injection of Chopin’s Funeral March in the title track (!). And throughout the album there are some other quasi-refreshing parts, though they are inferior to the maintenance of Burtul’s timelessly old school approach.

I have one remark, a fact I cannot ignore. The sound in between the different songs differs way too much. I am not sure, but I do not think all these lullabies have been recorded throughout a same period / session. The band’s approach remains the same, but there is a difference in the sonic recording result.

If I didn’t know that this band hailed from Russia, I would have guessed they came from North America (U.S. or Canada) or Europe (Spain, Poland, Belgium or Finland). And to be honest, I do not know many Russian bands that play this kind of old schooled Death / Grind, so I can say they must be one of the most convincing bands within this genre from that area… Just kidding, but believe me if I say that Bottom Astral compiles a fine collection of tracks that will please fans of, well, let’s say everything in the vein of (earlier) Cannibal Corpse, Aborted, Mortician, Human Mincer, Avulsed, Dying Fetus, Hate, Origin or Benighted.