Eastern Front album release party – The Black Heart, Camden, London; July 26th, 2014

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Saturday saw the sun continue with its irregular, summer heat wave, which reached all the way into The Black Heart in Camden. Though the lack of proper ventilation and air conditioning made the place too uncomfortably warm for many, it was mercifully not so much that people couldn’t enjoy themselves for the half-day long album release party of Ipswich-based black metal band Eastern Front.

They were joined by the likes of death/black metal hybrid Sidious, Primitive Graven Image and even a special, rare (last minute) appearance from the Danish/London trio Sturmtiger, amongst others in the British black metal scene. While no one was spared from the sweltering conditions of the upstairs venue, everyone played a decent show.

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RIP Astarte

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Following on a previously ongoing struggle with leukemia, it was reported that Maria “Tristessa” Kolokouri, founder and frontwoman of the Hellenic black metal band Astarte, had passed away on Saturday 9th, 2014.

 

Credited by friends and loved ones for her courage in pursuing black metal, at a time when the Greek metal scene was considered to have been mostly unreceptive to extreme music let alone female metal heads; Maria went on to help create the band Astarte, with former Lloth bandmate Kinthia on vocals for debut album ‘Doomed Dark Years’. The record, though musically closer to the  second wave Norwegian sound with its frosty atmosphere and shrill, high pitched notes, showed its roots in Greek paganism and mythology, which became a strong, recurring theme for Maria’s lyrics.

 

Despite Astarte’s lack of recognition outside of Greece, Maria eventually formed collaborations from other musicians in the international metal scene for later releases. Aside from from her peers in the Greek extreme metal scene, guest musicians had also included Angela Gossow (formerly of Arch Enemy), Attila Csihar (present Mayhem) and most famously, Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir fame.

 

Maria was 37 years old at her time of death, leaving behind her husband, Nicholas Sic Maiis (of the band Insected) and their small son, Antonios.

 

Me(n)tal-Meltdown wish to offer deep condolences to Maria’s family and friends for their loss, as well as the loss of Astarte.