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Astral Bazaar - Pictures Unrelated CD (album) cover


Astral Bazaar


Crossover Prog

3.67 | 13 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This Helsinki-based Finnish band, which was founded in 2012, is soon about to release their second album. Here's the third review for the self-released debut. By the way the vocalist's name is Koos Zevenhoven, so he's most likely originally from Netherlands. The sextet features three guitarists, one of them playing also saxophone. Keyboards are not involved, but I was told there indeed are some synth/organ sounds made with software on a couple of tracks. So my ears weren't lying.

Now that I think of it, the band name fits them pretty well: their style has a good dose of psychedelic space rock, and even though there aren't Oriental nuances, the far-from-clinical atmosphere is full of life and odours. The band rocks and rolls in an inviting way. From the prog's point of view the highlight of this short (37 ˝ min.) album is the 8-minute opener 'Pictures Unrelated, Pt. 1'. Speaking of pictures, the works of surrealist painter Salvador Dalí were a source of inspiration for this album. The band bio here speaks of "a certain artist" and I figured out it must be Dalí, since the lyrics in one song clearly describe the famous eyeball cutting scene from the Dalí & Bunuel's short film Un Chien Andalou (1928). Reoccurring Dalí themes such as ants, open drawer boxes and spirals appear here and there throughout the album, and as I was told, "some tracks are related to certain paintings, but we want to leave space for the listener's own imagination instead of being tied up to specific works".

One of their musical influences is obviously Pink Floyd, and preferably the earlier psychedelic output I guess, although the powerful chorus in 'Ants (The Decay of...)' reminds me heavily of the hammer march section of The Wall track 'Waiting for the Worms' (you know: "Waiting - to cut out the deadwood / Waiting - to clean up the city"), the word decay taking the place of waiting. But in many places it was NEKTAR -- roughly the era from A Tab in the Ocean to Down to Earth -- that I thought of hearing in the music.

All in all this is a nice, accessible and slightly bluesy rock album with a proggy and psychedelic edge. It seems to end a bit too soon! It'll be interesting to hear in what direction the band has evolved in two years, and what kind of inspirations will grace their upcoming album.

Matti | 3/5 |


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