Posts Tagged ‘metal blade’

Album of the day: Astra – The Black Chord

Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2012

Lovingly pinched from Heavy Metal: San Diego maestros Astra craft expansive suites that hearken back to the original root of mind-expanding, unrestrained and genuinely progressive rock. Rich with hallucinogenic and hypnotic promise, and slathered in layers of vintage, billowing instrumentation, the band’s stunning sophomore album, The Black Chord, expertly evokes the spirit, tone and vision of ’70s cosmic prog.

‘s 80-minute ’09 debut The Weirding was widely acclaimed by fans of cerebral prog. Saturated with the sounds of yesteryear, its über-extended jams evoked the infinitely searching tenor of prog’s most celebrated forbears. It was epic, but Astra avoided accusations of self-indulgence, or of having crafted a half-baked pastiche, by adhering to an authentically reverential aesthetic.

The Black Chord finds Astra making a surprising change in tack by reining in the running time—but don’t panic, it’s still a Mellotron and Moog feast. The uninhibited lengthiness of the band’s songs was once one of their greatest strengths, but the new album is over 30 minutes shorter than their debut. While The Weirding had four 10-minute-plus tracks, here there are two.

What at first looks like an unforgivable faux pas (how could they deny us our mammoth guitar wig-outs?) turns out to be an astute move. The aptly titled ‘Drift’, a bucolic lament that harnesses a Canterbury scene flavor, has its fragile pop heart accentuated by its succinct mix of warm guitars and leisurely vocals and keyboards. Brevity also emphasizes the churning space rock and proto-metal drive of ‘Bull Torpis’. Its heavier riffing, swirling synth and intensifying solos making for a storming intro to the album’s final track.

Continue reading: Heavy Metal: Astra – The Black Chord Review.

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Album of the day: Orange Goblin – A Eulogy for the Damned

Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2012

Lovingly pinched from Metal Although London institution Orange Goblin has been kicking ass consistently for fifteen years, it is somewhat recently that the band has really perfected the blend of Black Sabbath, Motörhead, and Down – the kind of hard-rocking, thick-grooving, bottle-smashing outlaw stoner metal that’s so easy to overlook […]

Album of the day: Pilgrim – Misery Wizard

Posted on Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Lovingly pinched from While music obviously needs bands capable of doing radically new, different things, it also needs bands that refine existing styles and add their own voice. Pilgrim fall into the latter category – they’re not going to spawn an entire new sound, but they are going to […]

Album of the day: Hammers Of Misfortune – 17th Street

Posted on Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Lovingly pinched from Heavy Metal: 17th Street is the fifth studio album released by visionary, San Francisco, CA-based progressive metal band Hammers of Misfortune. I have to be honest: reducing their genre to “progressive” feels disingenuous. Hammers of Misfortune are Hammers of Misfortune, full stop. They borrow elements from […]

Album of the day: Glorior Belli – The Great Southern Darkness

Posted on Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Praise for Glorior Belli‘s The Great Southern Darkness from San Francisco’s aQuarius Records: We’ve mentioned it before, but it seems like few can touch French black metal when it comes to originally and innovation. Whether it’s the gnarled twisted post rock flecked ritualistic blackness of Deathspell Omega, or the industrial drone […]

Album of the day: In Solitude – The World. The Flesh. The Devil.

Posted on Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Praise for In Solitude‘s The World. The Flesh. The Devil. from San Francisco’s aQuarius Records: Last time we highlighted the 2nd album from Mercyful Fate / King Diamond (and Satan) lovin’ Swedish true metallers, Portrait. Now this week we’ve got another sophomore album from ANOTHER Swedish heavy metal act on […]

Album of the day: Pentagram – Last Rites

Posted on Friday, April 1st, 2011

Lovingly pinched from The Obelisk: The Pentagram story is as long as the story of heavy metal itself. In 2011, vocalist Bobby Liebling marks 40 years since the inception of the seminal Washington D.C. (it’s the “Doom Capitol” for a reason) outfit, and with the much-anticipated release of Pentagram’s Last […]

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