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Astra - The Weirding CD (album) cover

THE WEIRDING

Astra

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.91 | 247 ratings

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rushfan4
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars WEIRD, I THOUGHT IT WAS 2009

The Weirding is the debut album from California psyche/space rock band Astra, not to be confused with the progressive metal band from Italy.

I had noticed a previous reviewer listening to this album in the What Are You Listening To Now? thread in the forums here at PA, and I was impressed by the CD cover that he had posted, so I did some research and learned that this band had just been added to PA and that they played psyche/space progressive rock music. I was intrigued, so I downloaded the album from eMusic.com and was extremely glad that I did. I immediately took to this album on my first listen due to its retro sounds bringing me back to listens of some of my favorite bands from the late 60's and early 70's. This album just drips with Mellotron.

At any rate, I was so impressed with this album after my first couple of listens I really wanted to share it with the rest of the PA community, so this inspired me to start the Rushfan4 New CD Discussion Thread, with this being the lead album for discussion. And starting this thread inspired me to listen to this album numerous times, rather than my usual one or two listens before moving on to the next purchase. I am very glad with my decision, as I have really grown to love this album.

The first track, Rising of the Black Sun is an instrumental track dominated early on by the guitars and later by the mellotron. I am somewhat reminded of Hawkwind when I listen to this song, although I am not an expert on Hawkwind, it is them that comes to mind as I listen to this song.

The second track, The Weirding is a 12 minute long epic which again features some excellent retro guitar and mellotron playing. This song harkens back to the psychedelic days of Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. The Black Sabbath feel is not only musical, but also vocally, as the singing reminds me a lot of a young Ozzy Osbourne at times, but also at times the singing reminds me of early psychedelic albums from Pink Floyd.

The third track, Silent Sleep is another long one that clocks in over 10 minutes. This song is of a mellower variety than the previous songs and includes some beautiful flute playing that reminds a bit of Camel's Snow Goose for some reason or another.

The fourth track, The River Under clocks in at just under 9 minutes and starts off with some splendid drum work before the guitars and mellotron kick in. This song is also of a mellower variety with some melodic singing. I really enjoy the drum work on this song.

The fifth track, Ouroboros is a 17+ minute instrumental and is in my opinion the highlight song of this album. Again with the excellent drums, guitars, and mellotrons this song returns to the heavier prog of the first two tracks. The guitar work near the beginning of this track will remind you instantly of Steve Howe during the glory days of Yes, before they move on to a hodgepodge of other bands including Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath, but also bits of Led Zeppelin, Camel, and Hawkwind.

The sixth track, Broken Glass, is the shortest song on the album at under 4 minutes. This song shows a folkier side to the band and features acoustic guitar and melodic 70's vocals. A very pretty track which reminds me of something that you might have heard on a Beatles' record.

The seventh track, The Dawning Of Ophiuchus, is a 5 minute instrumental which features both guitar and mellotron. It is a nice song but probably the least memorable of the tracks on this album.

The eighth and final track, Beyond to Slight the Maze, is another 10 minute plus epic which just screams Pink Floyd with both barrels. Again, heavy mellotrons and excellent drum and guitar work. This track is streaming here on PA and is thus available for those interested in hearing it to listen to it. There is also a link on the band's website where you can go and download this song.

Overall this is a very retro album spanning close to 80 minutes, but it is well worth the listen. It is both retro in sound as well as in its production however, which could be a distraction to some. This album sounds as though it was recorded in the 70's with 70's technology rather than taking advantage of current technology. This might also appeal to those PA members who don't like anything recorded under current technology. As much as I enjoy this album, it is not a masterpiece of progressive rock music. It is however an excellent retro sounding progressive rock album which should appeal to fans of 70's progressive rock and especially fans of the mellotron, and the bands that I referenced throughout my review.

rushfan4 | 4/5 |

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