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Their Dogs Were Astronauts - Dreamcathcer

Their Dogs Were Astronauts
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 18 February 2020, 6:13 AM

THEIR DOGS WERE ASTRONAUTS is an Instrumental Progressive Metal/Djent band project from Austria which was founded in 2014. The music of the two brothers Denis and Leonard Roth, who both studied music, focuses on riff heavy instrumental music seasoned with catchy melodies. With the use of seven and eight string guitars they explore all the musical possibilities that these extended range instruments offer. “Dreamcatcher” contains twelve tracks.

“Abracadabra” leads off the album. Opening with some static and electric samples, the first guitar notes are heavy and Djenty. The riff begins some exploration as lead guitar note develop overtop. The melodies here are more subdued, and the focus is on the heavy riffing. “Pinocchio” starts out with some guitar accents and the steady beats of a drum. It has a more mysterious and tense sound, building into some heavier guitar notes with some eerie leads carrying the melody. “Lala Land” has a dreamier and streamlined sound, opening with acoustical guitars and some real chunks of melody from the distorted guitars. Some keys mix in at one point and the compositional style reminds me of Steve Vai.

“Unholy Aura” features a heavier and more pliable sound, alternating between Djenty sequences and ones that feature some softer melodies. They are definitely not afraid of experimentation here, as this song is all over the map. The keys are just weird. You get the sense that some of their placement is random, but these guys know what they are doing. “Rumplestilzchen” opens with these staccato guitar notes both in the lead and rhythm department. It eventually builds into a nice, full melody but takes some odd steps getting there. “Fata Morgana” features some more ominous notes and little more straightforward song structure. The key and bass sequence definitely bring a different element to the table.

“Frantic Nightmare” pushes some heavy guitar work from the opening, along with dark tones, as any good nightmare would have. A more ambient passage then develops with soft lead guitar notes and some murky undertones, and then that heavy guitar work returns. “Merry go Round” is a short under four-minute song where they heavy Djenty accents are dialed back a bit, in favor of the lead guitar melody. Some spacy keys take center stage for a spell.

“Dreamcatcher” is over seven minutes in length. Some melody comes into play pretty early, and from there some patterns develop and repeat. In this song, it’s more about the journey than the destination. You have to be willing to go “along for the ride” so to speak, but I like the way that they let the melody develop. “Asylum” hears the heaviness and sharp accents return. It has a funky rhythm at first. Those spacy keys come back as well, along with some spastic lead guitar work overtop those Djenty rhythms. “Moonshine Forest” opens with an alluring melody line lead by guitars and keys. Then, they are replaced by dark and heavy Djenty guitars along with some odd sounds. “Wildfire” closes the album. Impossibly heavy guitars drop to the ground like meteorites, shaking everything around you in a 100-mile radius. Some fuzziness comes into play as the guitars dig deeper.

Overall, although it is clear that these guys have mad skills on the axe, this is niched based music that only a small minority will appreciate. I find most of the melodies to be more on the subtle side, but when they do let them out, they shine as bright as a beacon. I do wish however that they would let the melodies out a bit more into the open, because they have a lot to offer. The album is more focused on those heavy guitar accents and Djent sound, which is not a bad thing, just an observation.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Abracadabra
2. Pinocchio
3. Lala Land
4. Unholy Aura
5. Rumplestilzchen
6. Fata Morgana
7. Frantic Nightmare
8. Merry go Round
9. Dreamcatcher
10. Asylum
11. Moonshine Forest
12. Wildfire
Denis Roth
Leonard Roth
Record Label: Independent


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