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Astra - The Black Chord CD (album) cover

THE BLACK CHORD

Astra

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.01 | 366 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Rivertree
Special Collaborator
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
4 stars The fans had to wait nearly three years ... but now the unique sound of ASTRA is back. Their sophomore album 'The Black Chord' blends psychedelic with symphonic ingredients in its own inimitable way, based on a really virtuoso implementation at times. The line up remained steady during recent years, so does the sound ... in general. Which means this will please all those progressive music lovers who already have enjoyed the predecessor 'The Weirding'.

Although guitars and keyboards are equally prominent as usual I would emphasize the latter here. Conor Riley and Richard Vaughn provide a cornucopia of impressions - Moog, synthesizer, piano, mellotron and Hammond unlimited - you won't miss anything on this occasion. By the way ... guitarist Brian Ellis is in control of the beloved mellotron too, not in ASTRA though, however at least when it comes to his diverse solo projects, which I also like.

An ambient/spacey intro leads us into Cocoon which bears several repetitive motifs, however slightly modified over the course. Evolving from mid to up-tempo rocking this a gripping affair really. The title songs differs while certainly gaining a symphonic outfit featuring more complexity and turns. Besides distorted vocals Quake Meat shows a wonderful spacey interlude, followed by the floydy Drift and Bull Torpis which I only wished to be more extended due to a very melodic implementation - great track.

'The Black Chord' is a substantial effort provided with strong vintage references to the glorious 1970s, especially Pink Floyd and Genesis are shimmering through here and there. Supposed to be manufactured as vinyl, hence the total length is limited. Overall presented as good as the debut at least - a recommended affair again for sure. You shouldn't miss this band.

Rivertree | 4/5 |

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