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Ketzer: Starless

German black/thrashers feel the pull of the gothic

With a freshly inked deal with Metal Blade, Starless bids farewell to muscle-bound goats and blackened thrash metal in favour of a more mature and introspective dark rock’n’roll.

The decision to break free of the narrow confines of the genre and the band’s previous work showcases a finely honed chemistry and commendable versatility, but will disappoint fans who seek a continuation of their hellish Teutonic thrash assault.

Ketzer’s focus on atmosphere shows moments of moody instrumentals and acoustic flourishes between passages of pulsing metallic death-rock similar to In Solitude and Tribulation – no doubt inspired by a recent European tour with the latter.

Some of the band’s trademark snarling aggressive spite is still evident through the throaty bark of vocalist Gerrit, but the band lacks the sleek refinement and mystique of the aforementioned Swedes and Starless often wanders off course during slower unfocused moments of sparse reflection.