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Astra - The Black Chord CD (album) cover

THE BLACK CHORD

Astra

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.97 | 386 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

jalas
5 stars As excited as I was knowing that Astra was going to release a new album, I was also very nervous. The first album had absolutely nothing wrong with it and it left me so satisfied. It became an instant classic in my book and I know that if I stop listenting to that album right now and wait ten years to listen to it again, when I do, I will cry from how good the music is. Now, with the Black Chord, Astra has shown that they are a proper band. A proper band has to have a proper follow-up album and this is it. I can't say that it is better or worse than the first album nor can I say that it's more of the same. It is something new, yet something just as satisfying. Cocoon has such a mellow entrance that cradles you with its slow beat and you know right away that this is just going to feel so natural. The title track shows the band getting more elaborate in their song writing. It almost sounds like some Swedish Symphonic prog band sometimes, yet you can tell that these guys don't try as hard as other bands. The time signatures are not out-of-this-world yet impressive enough to appeal to the proggiest of prog heads. Since they don't try as hard, it make the music sound like it was done by humans, making the sound so personal and relatable. It's so refreshing to know that there are still musicians who can still pump out original tunes without deliberately throwing in confusing time changes. That approach can be very alienating. Quake Meat was the song that I heard first since they released it to the public as a teaser. They should not have done that. It made the wait for the album feel much longer. The flanger effect on the vocals are the hightlight for me oddly enough. The Vocal pattern gives off this feeling of desperation, almost like you should be bracing for something. In other words, the song has good Drive. I definately feel like driving faster when I listen to this song. Drive is a characteristic that I look for in Songs. It's one of my favorite styles of song writing. Another type of song that I love is the song that has melancholy. This describes the next song on the album, Drift. Although it does have some more triumphant moments, The main verses sound somber, despite the fact that I have no idea what they are singing. Bull Torpis speed the album back up with some more drive. It's obviously a passing thought, but I am grateful that they released it. Barefoot in the Head Is just a good song. If you read this far, just take my advice and buy the album. You review Barefoot in the Head for yourself. You won't regret it, unless you have no soul. I have a feeling that there will be reviewers out there who will say that there is nothing new here. They will just say that it's just a clone of some 70's prog band that uses the same equipment. Astra does use lots of Mellotron and Hammond organ in their music and the guitar tones are not so flashy. The Drum sound is also not so overpowering, as it tends to be in newer music being released. Although I do agree that they are definately playing with the intent to sound retro, I do not hear similarities between the song writing of today and the 70s. Astra has managed to play a style that is timeless. There were bands that made music in the 70s that was timeless also. Bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes(The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge, Relayer), and King Crimson used similar equipment, But neither sounded like the other nor did they sound like they belonged in the time that they were in. Why can't Astra do the Same? Just go get this album already!
jalas | 5/5 |

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