This is the fourth full-length album of Desert Near the End, the power/thrash metal band from Athens, Greece, named “Of Fire and Stars”, a splendid title which sums up the essence of the whole album. On the one hand, we have the Force of Fire, as the archetypical element, the intersection point of history, on the other hand, we have the Stars, the intergalactic travels, Universe, the Mysteries of the Worlds, therefore the Mysteries of our own existence, everything seen through our need to explain the cosmos. The album cover gives the fan a great idea of what he/she is going to hear, of the concept of the album, but also of the worlds, where he is going to travel to. The trio of Desert Near the End, a fine and mature artistic team, captures in musical notes all the experiences collected over the years and beginning from a solid basis, takes off to a high point, both from the songwriting aspect and the performance aspect. Indeed, the band composes excellent songs, being influenced by different hard rock and metal genres, without betraying the power/thrash metal vein. Thus, apart from the obvious influences from bands like Iced Earth and Kreator, you will find here death metal elements, some black metal aesthetics and even a progressive rock/metal mood, things that prove the band’s artistic maturity. Desert Near the End is basically a band, which emphasizes in harmony, and manages to be aggressive without tiring the listener. In “Of Fire and Stars” you will listen to crushing thrash metal songs, like “A World Beyond”, “The Call Of The Stars”, “Light Long Dead” and the single “Throne Of Martyrdom”, to more atmospheric, darker songs like  “The Final Frontier” and “Of Fire And Stars”, even to epic songs like “Earth And Water. "Of Fire and Stars" is a balanced album with the right production, an emphasis in melody and compositions that won’t pass undetected. The trio, knowing how to express itself and perform, offers us music with clever orchestrations, music so rich that exceeds the limits of the Greek metal scene. Desert Near the End silently makes huge steps forward. You have to discover this band today, since the band gives everybody a lesson in how to perform extreme metal nowadays and prepare us for its bright future! Check ‘em, no matter what!

♦ 8/10

Michalis Kapetanakis