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Astra - The Weirding CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.90 | 323 ratings

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3 stars Five piece band Astra was founded in 2001 under the name Silver Sunshine. In 2004 they released their eponymous debut album on Empyrean Records, followed by the EP entitled A Small Pocket of Pure Spirit in 2005 on the same label. With the departure of original Silver Sunshine drummer Iain Andrew Sclater and the joining of new drummer/multi-instrumentalist David Hurley in 2006, their sound and direction has evolved and grown. At that moment the band not only decided to change their name (into Astra) but also their sound and line-up (new guitarist), Astra now features: Richard Vaughan (guitar, Mellotron and vocals), Conor Riley (guitar, Mellotron, ARP Odyssey synthesizer, organ and vocals), Stuart Sclater (bass guitar), David Hurley (drums, flute and various noisemakers) and Brian Ellis (guitar and Moog synthesizer). In May 2009 Astra released their debut full length album entitled The Weirding on Rise Above Records and a tour in the USA and Europe is one of their future plans.

In fact Astra their music is simply structured, to me most of the eight compositions even sound like extended jam- sessions: the musicians let the three guitars and the vintage keyboards speak, this makes listening to The Weirding to a very compelling musical experience, often I am carried away to Space Rock Heaven! The special element in Astra their sound is the fact that all of the three guitarists play vintage keyboards, we can even enjoy a double-Mellotron sound. Especially in the two epics The Weirding (first brass ? and violin section and in the end brass ? and flute section) and Ouroboros (lots of violin ? and choir-sections sounds). The interplay between the distinctive sound of the Mellotrons and the moving work on the guitars evoked many times goose bumps! The final composition Beyond To Slight The Maze delivers exciting work on Mellotron (again), Moog and especially the Hammond organ. This culminates in a breathtaking grand finale with majestic choir-Mellotron, soaring Hammond organ and fat Moog synthesizer flights, what a mighty musical experience! The short song Broken Glass is a bit of a maverick because of the acoustic guitars, beautifully blended with warm vocals and the sound of the flute ? and violin section of the Mellotron. But in general the atmospheres shift from dreamy and spacey to bombastic and from slow and hypnotizing rhythms to heavy eruptions. Often early Pink Floyd (Pompeii-Meddle era), Seventies German Progrock (melodic and emotional) and some Black Sabbath (vocals and heavy rhythm-section, mainly in the titletrack) come to my mind.

Recommended to Tron-Maniacs and space rock freaks, my rating: 3,5 star.

TenYearsAfter | 3/5 |


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