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Astronoid - Air Award winner

Astronoid
Air
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 15 July 2016, 8:38 AM

Every few blue moons a band comes along that you find exists outside of any sub-genres and is beyond difficult to label or pigeon-hole. ASTRONOID is that band for 2016. They call themselves “Dream Thrash.” If you are like me, you have never heard that term before and the images that it conjures up are totally unique. Encyclopaedia Metallum calls them Post Metal/Rock/Shoegaze or Space Rock. I am not going to call them anything at the moment, until I have finished this review and have tried to describe their sound as best as I can. Formed in 2012, this is the band’s debut full-length album, and contains nine tracks. “Incandescent” has a light, ethereal opening reminiscent of the Post-Rock genre. From there, a heavier sound is dropped with big guitar chords. The progressions are also very Post-Rock in nature. When the supremely harmonized vocals come in, it lifts you off your feet and into the clouds. “Up and Atom” has a much rowdier entrance, with tightly packed instrumentation. Those vocals continue to just shine, light a ray of sunshine penetrating the thickest of cloud cover. I watched the 50th Anniversary Tour of the BEACH BOYS recently. When you think of zenith vocal harmonies, they are the band who created them. I definitely get reminiscent of them when I listen to this song.

“Resin” has a Thrashy quality due to the speed of the guitar and drum work, but it’s done in major chords so it registers in the positive realm rather than the negative. The chorus could make you weep with sugary melodies that are sweeter than anything you can imagine. “Violence” is a short, ambient song…building a breezy feeling, almost like you are lightheaded and are floating above your consciousness. “Homesick” was the first song I had heard in advance of the album release that really hit me in the feels. The chorus looms like a Titan from mythical Greece, enveloping everything in its path and drowning you in millions of drops of shimmering water. “Tin Foil Hats” rolls with the sound of early Pop/Punk in the opening riff, and I am constantly amazed at how many different musical and genre elements are embraced in this album. It’s gorgeous like a sunset; a sky exploding high above you in hues of deep pink and purple that seem to defy nature. The title track, “Air,” is perhaps my favorite on the album. The opening riff is majestic. From there, it is fueled by fast picked guitars that cover every inch of the sound, galloping forward while the vocal harmonies dance above, interlocked in the same way as body and spirit.

“Trail of Sulfur” closes the album, and in grandiose fashion. That riff reaches to the furthest places of the universe, and if you hop on for the vocals for the ride you will see things that your eyes have never seen before. It reminds me of some of the great images of the Hubble Telescope. In that regard you can understand the space theme that runs throughout the album. I am going to do something that as a music enthusiast and reviewer that I have not done before, and that is not trying to define the genre that I am listening to here on “Air.” It’s an exercise in futility anyway, because the band has truly defied labeling. All that I can summarize is that the album is singularly unique, sublime in ways that you have not heard before, and capable of lifting your spirit and emotions on your darkest days.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Incandescent
2. Up and Atom
3. Resin
4. Violence
5. Homesick
6. Tin Foil Hats
7. Air
8. Obsolete
9. Trail of Sulfur
Lineup:
Matt St. Jean – Drums
Mike DeMellia – Guitars
Casey Aylward – Guitars
Daniel Schwartz – Bass
Brett Boland – Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Blood Music Records
     


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