MAN AMONG STARS, Beginning  (2005, demo)

The skull:
What are we to gather from this apparently profound image? The band name, infinity symbol and other cosmic symbols in the logo seem to acknowledge man as but a speck of dust during his brief time on Earth.¬†Maybe it’s that from our beginnings, like, the Big Bang, it’s all been misery after that. Maybe they’re conveying that the only sure things in life are Catholicism, famine and death. I personally have never endured any of those, although I know one of them is gonna happen someday. (Well, I was at a Catholic wedding once, and it wasn’t much fun, but I survived.) Maybe I can’t relate to this cover, or don’t have the brains to understand it, but really this just looks like your typical skull plopped down in an image full of cosmic and religious signifiers that don’t actually make a whole lot of sense when snapped together like this.

The music:
This demo was limited to a mere 10 copies, presumably released on CD-R, making this one of the rarest skulls in existence if you own an original. Which means you’re either in the band or a friend of the band. But even if you are one of the lucky 10, you don’t have much to brag about. The recording is predictably basement-level necro, which works if the music is good, but the music delivers zero evilness — all mid-paced, unimaginative riffs and plodding rhythms — and the black metal vocals are completely ridiculous. It sounds like the guy is humming really loud, not evening opening his mouth. There’s a “pagan/nature” sort of element here too, with almost-as-terrible clean vocals leading the feeble charge. This was the band’s first recording, and they’ve released several recordings since, which have to be better than this, because it’s impossible to be worse.
— Friar Wagner