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Astral Bazaar

Crossover Prog

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Astral Bazaar Pictures Unrelated album cover
3.67 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews | 8% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Pictures Unrelated, Pt. 1 (8:15)
2. The Animation Hand (5:27)
3. Ants (The Decay Of ...) (4:23)
4. Nuclear Mystique (3:50)
5. Prelude To Lucid Circus (1:17)
6. Lucid Circus (6:16)
7. Age Of Gold (5:49)
8. Pictures Unrelated, Pt. 2 (2:19)

Total Time 37:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Koos Zevenhoven / vocals
- Lauri Loikkanen / guitar
- Mikael Laaksonen / guitar, saxophone
- Pekka Lehtelä / guitar
- Jukka Sainio / bass
- Eetu Peltoluhta / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Eetu Peltoluhta

CD self-released - ASTRB01 (2018, Finland)

Digital album

Thanks to damoxt7942 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ASTRAL BAZAAR Pictures Unrelated ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ASTRAL BAZAAR Pictures Unrelated reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars A fantastic debut shot has come to us. A Helsinki-based rock combo ASTRAL BAZAAR say they were founded as a rock project influenced by classic progressive rock and modern alternative one, and this album titled "Picture Unrelated" consists of 8 tracks each of which has a linkage to other ones, totally inspired by a brilliant work of a famous painter. Like the sleeve picture of an ice upon the cracked desert, they play mutually distorted psychedelia and comprehensible rock. Such a mixture via their material is quite acceptable, blended with pop / catchy and complicated, bluesy melody lines created by psychedelic fuzzy guitar and sincere, strict drumming / bass play.

The epilogue "Picture Unrelated Part 2" reminds me of another incarnation of early Pink Floyd. On the other hand, comfortable melodic texture around the second track "The Animation Hand" can be said Genesis meet U2. Complex components via their instruments should be accepted without any toughness. Sounds like "Nuclear Mystique" or "Age Of Gold" might be fully influenced by 90s alternative rock, regardless of its musical diversity. Pretty good their stuffs feature complexity and catchiness. Anyway let me say one of my favourites is "Prelude To Lucid Circus" flooded with blurred funky piccolo sounds and quiet, gentle psychedelic ballads ... followed by the main dish along with fantastic chorus and mysterious ethnic touches.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars It never ceases to amaze me just how some bands are out there gigging and have to release an album either independently and/or digitally, yet any record label who are any good should have signed them up long ago. That is the case with Helsinki-based Astral Bazaar who released their debut album last year, some six years after they were formed. They state they are interested in classic rock and alternative rock as well as progressive and have brought all of that to play in what is just a really enjoyable album. This is fun throughout, and to my ears sounds as if it should have come out of the late Eighties/early Nineties neo prog scene, as I can imagine these guys fitting in well with the likes of Ark, IQ with Paul Menel, early Galahad, Casual Affair and so many others. If any band sound as if they were treading the boards of the likes of the Marquee, Walthamstow Standard or Brentford Red Lion back then, it has to be these guys. They have no rights at all to be releasing an album like this in 2018, and sounding so British as well!

They take prog influences and throw them into poppy and commercial numbers, so much so that songs such as "The Animation Hand" could be played on the radio and listeners may not even realise this is a prog act as it is packed full of joy. The drumming is tight, much of the guitar is played in a staccato manner, so layers often have space within them and it is fresh, invigorating and exciting. No navel gazing for these guys, but rather here is a Summer prog album which is going to surely find them a great deal of fans. If you want prog which is more light-hearted, played with loads of commerciality, and is a damn fine listen, then look no further than this.

Review by Matti
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.

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