As mentioned in a previous review, depressive Black Metal is a widely liked as well as widely bashed genre of music. Only few bands (which are mostly solo projects) can manage to successfully execute this genre without being repetitive in the process.
Araxas is the solo project of Leonhard Waltersdorfer, which started out as a Symphonic Black Metal project, but soon changed to Depressive Black Metal. But do not judge this as a typical one-man ambient/depressive black metal band that aims to achieve its goal with boring, droning riffs with songs going nowhere. Being a formally trained musician in classical music really aids Leonhard to compose musical pieces with the right combination of notes to effectively invoke a feeling of gloom and despair.
The demo titled Das Ende Der Gezeiten is his third, and in my opinion the best out of the 5 demos he has put out. I would place it among my favourite demos/albums from the genre. Musically, the demo is rather well-written and well-recorded for a depressive black metal demo. The songs contain elements typical to the genre. For example, the piano parts of in the intros of Am Abgrund Der Welten and Das Ende Naht, but the difference is that they do not seem to be fed into the songs for no reason, and coherence is maintained between the intros and the songs. The guitar tone is similar to that of bands like Shining and the right use of acoustic guitar and piano at the right places makes each song interesting, despite their length. The drums parts are not very remarkable, and play at constantly slow pace, but speed up/blast at times. Leonhard's vocals on the demo are remarkably spine-chilling inhuman shrieks, and easily some of the best in the genre. Every song in the demo keeps a constant hope-crushing atmosphere though not the kind one would describe as "cold" and "grim", achieved simply by droning a single riff over and over, but actual melancholic melodies that can be pleasing to hear at the same time.
The demo is highly recommended for fans of this genre. Demos can be downloaded for free at http://www.myspace.com/araxasaustria
Or contact Leonhard to order your copy if you want to support his music.