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Symphonic Prog • United States

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Astrė biography
Founded in Tulsa, USA in 1978 - Disbanded in 1984

Founded in Tulsa - Oklahoma in the mid/late 70's, this 4 piece band was formed by : Mark Loveless (guitar, keyboards), Bill Tankersley (vocals, bass, keyboards), Les Mobley (drums, percussion), Curt Wasson (keyboards), Mark Winn (drums). In 1981 They turned into a Power trio when Wasson left the band.

That same year they self release their only album called Foresight. Despite the terrible production, the music is pretty good and it's clear that they are influenced by the early 70's pioneers specially EMERSON LAKE & PALMER and KING CRIMSON with a touch of AOR (Typical of the era).

After the release of Foresight, the band kept offering concerts and touring in the US, until 1983 when their activities almost ceased completely and in 1984 officially disbanded. A real collectors item for the fans of Symphonic Prog, being one of the few examples of the genre in the South Central region of the United States.

Ivan Melgar Morey ::: Peru

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3.26 | 15 ratings

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 Foresight by ASTRĖ album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.26 | 15 ratings

Astrė Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

3 stars Even when we are not sure if ASTRE was formed as a quartet or a five piece band because their history is very obscure, we know with certitude that their only release Foresight was released as a Power Trio and this is one of the reasons why it's often described as an ELP clone by the few who know about them.

Another problem with the band is the terrible production of the album due to the fact hat the band self released it, but that's not all, being that only a few copies were pressed, it's hard to get the LP, so went to the house of a friend that collects this rare albums (since he worked in a radio station) and he lend me his pristine perfect original LP , but I had to promise that if i damaged it will have to give him my autographed Jethro Tull DVD, so with extreme caution, placed the album in my Dual turntable and listened it repeatedly.

The first thing I noticed is that the original album sounds as bad as the Youtube copies, so focused strictly in the music.

The album is opened by Hole in the Sky, a keyboard driven song that mixes some AOR music with hints of ELP, but the organ has that typical sound of the 80's arena bands of the that makes it less attractive for older Symphonic fans like me. Despite the choice of instruments must say that the music is well structured and very complex for the era when bands were searching for simplicity. After listening his track, it's obvious that Mark Loveless is a very skilled keyboardist, and despite some roughness, reminds me of Keith Emerson. Even when almost inaudible, the other musicians seem very competent also.

After the strong opener, Through the Looking Glass is very disappointing because they change elaborate Symphonic for a very boring mainstream ballad which despite a few interesting keyboard solos and the nice voice of Bill Tankersley, doesn't justify it's inclusion in a Prog album.

Now it's the turn for Lar-Asia, a track that took me by surprise, because I expected a band highly influenced by ELP, but this excellent musical piece seems like a forgotten track from the Lark's Tongues in Aspic sessions. The song is full of radical changes and has such a carefully elaborate structure that even when I'm not a fan of KING CRIMSON, found it outstanding. In this case we have to mention the excellent drumming by Les Mobley, who does a perfect job.

Before the Gods is a surprising track, being that it starts with a light intro that reminds me of MARILLION (Even when this guys released their album before the founders of Neo Prog were popular), but then after a nice vocal passages changes radically to ELP oriented frantic Symphonic with amazing Hammond sections along with the previous song, the best of side one.

Side two begins with The Doorway which follows the steps of the previous track, in other words more ELP oriented Prog that reminds of Tarkus, blended with Pictures at an Exhibition, also excellent material.

ASTRE left World Class(a five parts epic) for the end, so I guess it was supposed to be the "Piece of Resistance", but they didn't made a choice because even when it has some really good moments and excellent piano performance, it's not in the level of the three previous tracks.

Well, now we have to rate the album, and believe me, it's not an easy task, because the album has excellent moments but some boring passages, so even when the perfect rating would have to be of 2,5, but being impossible in ProgArchives, will have to consider that 3 stars are more accurate than only 2 for a non essential but very good album that history forgot.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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