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Astra - The Weirding CD (album) cover

THE WEIRDING

Astra

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.90 | 234 ratings

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EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Excellent debut for San Diego band Astra, a new pychedelic/ heavy prog band with many classic prog influences and a nostalgic, vintage sound that even in 2009 is a pleasure to hear.

Even if the band isn't exactly original, since the influences are really strong and a little too attached to the 70's, we cannot deny that this band is talented, appealing and skillful, in every point of view. "The Weirding" maybe isn't' an album that shines among other releases in 2009, such as Avant Metal veterans Maudlin of The Well's "Part The Second" or prog metal knights Riverside's "Anno Domini High Definition", but it definitely is a promising debut, full of haunting and impressive moments and beautiful passages that many bands today would have to envy. The main ingredients are a big dose of mellotron, guitar, Floydish vocals and melodies, rough sound, long, psych influenced jams, with some still moments here and there.

"The Rising Of The Black Sun" is the opening track, a five minute instrumental, where practically the whole song is a build up, an outstanding climax, richened by a trembling flute, some flangered guitars, and strange keyboards. Perfect for starting the album.

The epic title track is definitely the most magical song of the album. A beautiful melody, great Waters influenced vocals, and imposing mellotron at the beginning, later on turning into a great guitar solo, which reminds of old Heavy Prog. The middle part of the song is calmer, until, when the song is about to end, the starting melody reprises. Truly remarkable.

"Silent Sleep" is a little shorter, but it's just as dense, with an additional touch of mystery and melancholy. Great performances by all the band's musicians, excellent melody, haunting and magical atmosphere, from start to finish.

"The River Under" is another gem, a mysterious track indeed. The chorus is unbelievable, the flowing of the song is quite impressive. So far the album hasn't had any low points.

They start to come though with the seventeen minute "Ouroboros", an epic instrumental, from a spacey atmosphere to a somewhat violent one. Some moments are breathtaking, but others just don't appeal as much.

"Broken Glass" is a beautiful, underrated song, very short for a band like Astra, but with a melody that would give goosebumps even to the most fierce critic. Shattering beauty.

The two final songs are great, even though some moments tend to go a little too far, just like in "Ouroboros", especially for "The Dawning".

"Beyond To Slight The Maze" actually ends fantastically, as there's a rising climax that culminates to the very end of the song, as well as the album.

A great album, to sum up, very underrated and worth the listen if you really like prog, especially retro.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |

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