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Germ is a musical alias used by Australian producer and multi-instrumentalist Tim Yatras, best known for his contributions to numerous local black metal artists (Austere, Woods of Desolation, Pestilential Shadows, Grey Waters, etc.), therefore making the predominantly electronic sounds on 2012's Wish quite surprising, if not entirely unexpected, given his classical training. Ten-minute opening statement "An Overdose on Cosmic Galaxy" pretty much establishes the album's lay of the land with its lush techno-pop synthesizer orchestrations, cinematic sweep (think Vangelis on steroids), and passable melodic vocals; its late-born rhythmic intensity being the only hint of Yatras' metallic connections, further revealed via dissonant screams and dazzling guitar solos on subsequent tracks like "Asteroid of Sorrow" and "Flowers Bloom and Flowers Fall, But I'm Still Waiting for the Spring." Ratcheting things up a notch (or several!) in the head-banging intensity sweepstakes, "Breathe in the Sulphur" and the finally, truly violent "Your Smile Mirrors the Sun" both throw in wicked spectral choruses and blastbeat percussion (together reminiscent of Switzerland's Samael). Finally, instrumental interludes like "Oxygen," "Gravity," and the Kraftwerk-worshipping "Infinity" provide connecting threads for this relatively sequential sonic voyage of clearly interstellar inspiration, before culminating in the title track's lone piano. In sum, Wish's impressive compositional accomplishments and undeniable ear-catching appeal simultaneously manage to justify Germ -- or Yatras' -- daring experiment (allegedly fermenting since 2003) and confound listeners familiar with his prior works in extreme metal. But anyone who is well-versed in the genre-straddling experiments common to the black metal avant-garde in recent years will know exactly where this bold sonic collision is coming from.

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