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Tribute to Tristessa

tristessaMaria Kolokouri, better known as Tristessa, founder and heart of Astarte, has died after losing her long battle with leukemia. We want to transmit her family all the force and support to overcome these tough times. She will be missed.

Tristessa was a woman who showed passion in everything he did, whether recording a classic and pioneer album as “Doomed Dark Years”, arguing with a priest on TV or answering questions for a modest page like this.

And I was lucky enough to interview Tristessa. I remember thinking she should be tired of always answering the same questions about being a woman in the Black Metal scene. But otherwise, it was one of the most prolific interviews ever, and that can be just be done by an artist with fervor for their work and respect for those who like it.

She was a unique musician, a talented and innovative artist than far from repeating herself preferred to be guided by their feelings. As she said in our interview: “I will continue as I feel. I can’t write music and repeat myself “. And so she did.

She published the first album by a female black metal formation, to deviate from the easy road, breaking rules and embrace other styles and aesthetics in successive disks. In all of them she succeed.


The most famous and prolific of the female extreme metal bands, Astarte, started off as a trio called Lloth. It was born in September 1995 initially formed by Tristessa, who will be the core and Astarte’s only permanent member since then, Nemesis on guitar, Kinthia and Psychoslaughter as a session drummer (as in many “all-female” bands).

In May 1997 they began recording a demo called “Dancing In The Dark Lakes Of Evil”, under the name of LLoth, eight songs grouped in half an hour, released as a cassette in February 1997. In 1998 they changed the name from Lloth to Astarte, and signed for the greek label Black Lotus.

Already having taken the name of the Phoenician goddess of Mother Nature, war and fertility, Astarte came into the studio to record their debut work “Dommed Dark Years,” which set them a name in the black metal scene due to their aesthetic and dark music. With a length of 50 minutes, contains a conceptual three-part story called “Thorns Of Charon”, dedicated to the goddess who gives them the name.

But both aspects, aesthetic and music, have been varying from record to record, and in “Rise From Within” they left the purely black image and their music became more complex, melodic and technical, covering more styles such as thrash and death.

“Superius quod, sicut Inferius” was recorded in 2002 in Praxis studios, and presented in a limited edition followed the melodic line of their last album, although it’s more atmospheric.

After participating in a Celtic Frost tribute album with the track “Sorrows Of The Moon”, Astarte splits up letting Tristessa as the sole bearer of the band.

The vocalist/bassist brings two more instrumentalists, Katharsis (keyboards) and Hybris (guitars), to keep the Astarte flame alive. After signing with Avantgarde they recorded the “Sirens”, released in April 2004.

In “Sirens” the sound of the band maintains the basic black sound but goes to death paths. It featured Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir as a guest vocalist in the song “Ring Of Sorrow”. The collaborations continued in the next album “Demonized”, released in 2007 and counting with Attila Csihar (Mayhem), Henri TSK Sattler (God Dethroned) and Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy).

Shagrath remembered Tristessa in his condolence message: “Sad news… my friend Maria Tristessa from Astarte has passed to the next world… Best wishes on your soulside journey. It was an honour to work with you”

Also Angela Gossow had some words for her: “Very sad – just read Tristessa from Astarte lost her battle with Leukemia a few days ago. We’ve been in touch occasionally over the past couple of years, I did a song with her actually. A kind and passionate soul has left this world. May you rest in peace, metal sister, much love to you wherever you are now.”

After a long break to dedicate to her family, Tristessa announced she was entering the studio to record new Astarte’s album, ’Blackdemonium’, which would contain 9-10 tracks of black/death metal music with some thrash influences.


tristessaTristessa was a real warrior. She overcome the prejudices in the black metal scene and accomplished a great discography fighting for Astarte even when some wanted to take it away from her.

She’s been an inspiration to many girls and bands in the extreme scene, as she explained “Many bands send me emails to ask my opinion or thank me of being an inspiration for them and helped them to get involved with extreme music without fearing any reaction and that is something the honoured me.”

“Astarte started something different for the standards of Black Metal scene and that helped us to attract the attention of many fans of music. “. These fans are still here, honouring her with the clear intention to keep her flame alive and willing to hear the material yet to be released.

“And for the Sirens, for someone in this wide World, Tristessa is still singing”

Hèctor Prat

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  1. R.I.P. Tristessa

  2. My heart is broken, I wish there was more solidarity in the extreme metal scene, her family had to turn to her fans for financial suport. We’ll never forget her.

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