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GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT

Post Rock/Math rock • Ireland


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God Is An Astronaut biography
Formed in Glen Of The Downs, Ireland in 2002

GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT is an epic post-rock band with definite links to space rock sounds of bands such as Pink Floyd mixed with the heavy layers of Mono. They are known for their beautiful, heavily layered melodies, ambient vocals, and dynamic songs, as well as their extensive use of lights and visuals for their live shows. The band created their own record label, Revive Records, in order to release their first record "The End of the Beginning" in 2002. After three years away from the studio, they went back to record the LP "All is Violent, All is Bright" in 2005. Since then, they have released an EP, "A Moment of Stillness" in early 2006, and an internet-only single "Tempus Horizon" in October. The band's lineup has remained the same since its inception, including Torsten Kinsella on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Neils Kinsella on Bass, Guitars and visuals, and Lloyd Hanney playing drums and synthesizers.
The overall sound of GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT has not changed dramatically since the beginning, though their work on "The End of the Beginning" had a ssomewhat more electronic sound than their later works. However, their brand of sprawling, spacey melodies was well in place already at that time. Their second LP, "All is Violent, All is Bright", places more emphasis on guitar layers, and finds a more typical post-rock feel.
This band is highly recommended for fans of instrumental post-rock that emphasizes beauty of form and melody over outright experimentation. They also have a great deal of crossover appeal to space-rock fans.

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All Is Violent, All Is Bright (2011 Remastered Edition)All Is Violent, All Is Bright (2011 Remastered Edition)
Revive Records 2011
$9.98
$5.99 (used)
EpitaphEpitaph
Napalm Records 2018
$15.98
$24.65 (used)
God Is An Astronaut (2011 Remastered Edition)God Is An Astronaut (2011 Remastered Edition)
Revive Records 2011
$9.98
$18.91 (used)
OriginsOrigins
Rocket Girl 2013
$9.77
$10.00 (used)
Helios / ErebusHelios / Erebus
Revive Records 2015
$8.86
$11.47 (used)
All Is Violent All Is BrightAll Is Violent All Is Bright
Revive 2018
$17.81
$16.84 (used)
A Moment Of Stillness (2011 Remastered Edition)A Moment Of Stillness (2011 Remastered Edition)
Revive Records 2012
$9.98
The End of the Beginning (2011 Remastered Edition)The End of the Beginning (2011 Remastered Edition)
Revive Records 2011
$9.98
Far From Refuge (2011 Remastered Edition)Far From Refuge (2011 Remastered Edition)
Revive Records 2011
$9.98
$18.91 (used)
Far From RefugeFar From Refuge
Revive 2018
$17.82
$39.43 (used)
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GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT discography


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GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.99 | 39 ratings
The End Of The Beginning
2002
3.81 | 149 ratings
All Is Violent, All Is Bright
2005
3.90 | 80 ratings
Far From Refuge
2007
3.34 | 56 ratings
God Is An Astronaut
2008
3.53 | 45 ratings
Age Of The Fifth Sun
2010
3.68 | 25 ratings
Origins
2013
3.79 | 24 ratings
Helios | Erebus
2015
4.00 | 15 ratings
Epitaph
2018

GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.94 | 20 ratings
A Moment of Stillness
2006

GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The End Of The Beginning by GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.99 | 39 ratings

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The End Of The Beginning
God Is An Astronaut Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Formed in the idyllically named Glen of the Downs which exists just south of the Irish capital city of Dublin, the post-rock band GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT was formed in 2002 by twin brothers. Niels and Torsten Kinsella took the band's name from a quote in the movie "Nightbreed." Before these bros joined up with Lloyd Hanney on the second album "All Is Violent, All Is Bright," GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT was only a duo with Torsten on guitars, keyboards, drum programming and vocals while Niels handled bass, more guitars and yet more keyboards. The debut album THE END OF THE BEGINNING emerged shortly after the band's inception in 2002 and the title is supposedly comes from a famous Winston Churchill speech.

GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT has become a fairly well known post-rock band since the mid-2000s but in the beginning the band sounded a lot different. THE END OF THE BEGINNING firmly sits in the post-rock camp but at this point these guys were a bit eclectic with many layers of space rock, shoegaze inspired walls of sound and more trip hop and downtempo chilled out percussive beats. While many post-rock albums can sound rather monotonous as they tend to be quite lengthy, THE END OF THE BEGINNING is quite diverse in the tones, timbres, dynamics and tempos. The most notable part about this debut release is how thick the atmospheres are with a tapestry of synthesizer layers.

While the title track and following "Lost Symphony" and "Twilight" are rather mellowed out, the track "Fall From The Stars" on the other hand sounds more like a early U2 post-punk track which just happened to fall in love with the atmospheric textures of 70s Krautrock and progressive electronic as heard from Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze. While post-rock generally strives to create some ethereal astral plane of sound, THE END OF THE BEGINNING stays within the confines of a general rock paradigm. Not that there are choruses and verses but the bass grooves and guitar riffs are much more traditional rock than post-rock but overall the album comes off as some sort of electronic album that incorporates some rock instrumentation much like the space rock of Ozric Tentacles without the hyperactivity.

Tracks like "Coda" seem like they stray out of post-rock altogether with funky bass grooves and melodic call and response synthesized layers of sound with processed lyrics reminding me of artists like the French band Air. Same goes for "Route 666." While the album starts out fairly interesting it suffers the same fate as many post-rock albums and becomes monotonous 3/4 of the way through. Add to that the trip hop beats get tiresome after a while and tracks like "Coda" only prove that the duo could've thrown a little more creativity into the mix. All in all, this is a decent debut but hardly stands out as one of the most essential moments in post-rock history. GOD may be AN ASTRONAUT but clearly needs a little more space travel before true cosmic inspiration sets in. As a trio GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT would take on a more traditional post-rock style but on this one it's fairly unique. I just wish it was a bit more creative.

 All Is Violent, All Is Bright by GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.81 | 149 ratings

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All Is Violent, All Is Bright
God Is An Astronaut Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars After listening to this album several times, my impression of God is an Astronaut is a lite Post Rock band. Their brand of post rock is to try to make it easy for people to listen to. Personally, I don't think post rock was meant to be accessible, yet they try their hardest to make it so. Except for some wordless vocals in "Fragile", all of the songs on this album are instrumentals, so they check the first box on their post rock formula. Songs are based on the usual post rock formula, that of crescendos built off of a basic melody line.

I can't really compare this record to anything by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, because there is so much more depth in anything that GY!BE has done. The shortness of the tracks here makes certain that there are no epics on the album, just mostly basic instrumentals that feel like they could be epic if they were developed better. Sure, Mogwai and other post rock bands have recorded short songs, but many times, those songs flow into each other, where on this album, every song is it's own entity and none of them seem to have anything to do with each other, just like pop songs on a popular album. Post rock doesn't have to be all lengthy songs, they just have to have more depth to them.

The rhythms on each song pretty much hold a constant beat on each individual song, This is also to help the music be more pop- like. Doing this would make you think that each track must have it's own personality, but they really don't. What you end up getting here are some songs that might be mildly interesting, but they also tend to not have anything memorable about them. The titles don't seem to support anything in the individual tracks. For example, "Suicide By Star" could just have easily been called "Climbing a Broken Ladder and Jumping Into a Small Metal Bucket" and still wouldn't have been any different. It's like they recorded the music and decided to label it something that sounded like it might be post rock-ish.

So, it is pleasant in it's own way, but it really isn't anything that would get you interested in investigating their other albums. I think the best way to describe this is Post Rock Lite. It just seems to lack emotion and depth to me and it devoid of much feeling. It doesn't take a lot of brain cells to listen to it, but it doesn't seem to generate a lot of interest for me either. I will give it a low 3 star rating because the production is good, and listening to one track now and then is okay, but I can't seem to garner much interest in it all together as a package, it just gets dull too fast.

 All Is Violent, All Is Bright by GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.81 | 149 ratings

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All Is Violent, All Is Bright
God Is An Astronaut Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Gallifrey

3 stars 10 Years On: God is an Astronaut's All Is Violent, All is Bright

I completely and utterly understand why the entire world of post-rock hates God is an Astronaut. Even more than Explosions in the Sky, who simply packaged down Godspeed You! Black Emperor into predictable burst of constant crescendo, God is an Astronaut dare to take post- rock, and instrumental rock in general, to riskily accessible levels. I can see purists getting mad whenever some uneducated music fan says 'I normally don't like music without words, but I really like God is an Astronaut', because their music is so safe, and trying so hard to be as accessible as instrumental music can physically be, as if they're trying to push post-rock into the radio market. But above all of my intellectual knowledge that these guys are watering down a genre known to be epic, inaccessible and pretentiously grandiose into bite-size segments for the mass market, I still actually enjoy them, even if only a little bit.

Although they would shift their sound a bit in the future, in both good ways and bad, towards ambient, electronic, and shoegaze sounds, All Is Violent, All Is Bright remains the definitive God is an Astronaut album, in terms of their skills at condensing post-rock into memorable, tight, and melodically dressed four-to-six minute jams. The ambient and the electronic parts are here (not really any shoegaze until later), but they take a back seat to the sounds of streamlined, ultra- melodic third wave post-rock. And even then, I regularly feel the ambience and electronics are some of the weaker elements here, 'Forever Lost', despite its wonderfully uplifting melody line, utilises way too many casio synthesisers to make its ambience, sounding straight out of a 14- year-old's 'ambient' bedroom project. Later on in their career, the electronic elements would become a positive side to their music, but on this album, let's just say they're pretty poor. I'm particularly not a fan of when the drums come in and completely ruin the mood of 'When Everything Dies'

But basically, when you throw out the fact that this has none of the raw emotion of Godspeed or the innovative sounds of early post-rock, you can really start to appreciate it as one of the most memorable and accessible takes on instrumental rock music to date, without relying heavily on intense crescendos. Similar to many pop artists, these songs are short, have distinct repetitions, and focus heavily on memorable melodies, usually played on guitar, although piano features regularly, and the opening track even has some Sigur R's-esque distant vocals carrying its lead hook.

And then there are the crescendocore tracks. If you can give points to God is an Astronaut for anything else on this record, it's that they didn't go full-on explosion in every single track, like some of their imitators do. 'Suicide by Star' has an absolutely gripping piece of explosion-core, bringing in the tremolo guitars in mounds and ramping up the intensity to true post-rock levels, although its brief length does make it a bit of an anti-climax.

But what this album, and this band in general, is missing from its formula is the vastness of post- rock. Without huge tracks and monolithic soundscapes, these guys sound a bit too weak underneath their cousins, because even though they interject ambient passages into the structures, and many of the songs have a slower and more laid-back mood, with their formula of short and cheery, God is an Astronaut miss out on so much depth in songwriting. It's not as if they need 20-minute tracks to be good, but oftentimes this album feels like a stack of songs, one after another, that are just the same thing played in a different key with varying degrees of loudness. I wouldn't go as far to call it derivative - these guys certainly have their own sound, it's just that it's not a sound that lasts all too long, even within an album. This could have been cut to a 5-song EP (doesn't matter which ones, just pick a few) and it would have the same effect.

Repeat listens don't do this good either, I'm afraid. I liked every song on this when i first heard it, and now several absolutely drive me up the wall, mostly because of how simple the melodies are, again in a similar way to vapid pop music. The melody in 'Fire Flies and Empty Skies', it just feels so lazy and basic, and obviously without the crescendocore of Explosions in the Sky, they haven't even got the 'emotion' to back it up. And in its follow-up, 'A Deafening Distance", we get one melody repeating ad nauseam, with an equally dull drum beat underneath, but that song fortunately saves itself by giving it a bit of punch with the final few rounds. Many of these songs feel so incredibly underdeveloped, and I don't mean that they are too short, I mean that some songs are entirely based around a very simple idea, and four minutes of one melody does wear thin after a few listens.

This is a good album. It's good background music, I feel - not emotional enough to be distracting, but captivating enough to not feel bored. They certainly have a knack for memorable melodies without the need of a vocalist, which is something that is vital in an instrumental band, but without the enormity and emotional power that a band like Godspeed has, the music becomes a bit nondescript, a bit pedestrian. And in combination with many of the songs being a bit lazily written An enjoyable record, I feel. Certainly far from a classic, and it certainly deserves a lot of the flack it takes for being a bit dull and song-centric, but I do enjoy it a little bit. Just don't play it more than a couple of times, or it will start to dig into you.

6.4

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

 God Is An Astronaut by GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.34 | 56 ratings

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God Is An Astronaut
God Is An Astronaut Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars God Is an Astronaut's self-title album is fairly straight-down-the-line post-rock. It's pretty good if you listen to a couple of tracks here and there in isolation, but as a 1 hour album it gets rather tedious fairly quickly. By the time you've hit the third song and realised you can't tell it apart from either of the first two, you know you've got a problem, and despite some jazzy influences creeping in here and there it's a problem that persists for the duration of the album. On the whole, it may be a pleasant enough listen to those who haven't heard much post-rock before, but post-rock fans will already have plenty of superior albums and newbies to the genre will soon leave this rather unsatisfying piece behind.
 Far From Refuge by GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.90 | 80 ratings

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Far From Refuge
God Is An Astronaut Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Despite the rather bleak cover artwork, God Is an Astronaut's Far From Refuge doesn't exclusively occupy the sort of bleak, post-apocalyptic territory of much post-rock. In fact, there's points on the album where the music sounds downright cheerful. The band distinguish themselves from the post-rock crowd on this one by focusing less on spacey soundscapes and more on tuneful musicanship, with faster and busier compositions than are typical on the post-rock scene. As such, they manage to produce an album which will appeal to those who enjoyed their preceding work whilst at the same time developing their sound enough that the album doesn't feel redundant.
 All Is Violent, All Is Bright by GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.81 | 149 ratings

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All Is Violent, All Is Bright
God Is An Astronaut Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars God Is an Astronaut's All Is Violent, All Is Bright combines the stark and emotionally devastated soundscapes of Godspeed You Black Emperor or Mogwai with delicate piano work reminiscent of Sigur Ros to create a post-rock sound which is very much rooted in what by 2005 had become fairly well-established traditions of the subgenre - but though their post-rock approach is slightly cliched, they pull it off so well that I can't bring myself to hold it against them. And truth be told, the band find enough new twists to add to the old formula that I think they get away with using it, by the skin of their teeth - it's an entertaining enough album that if you dug the mid-2000s post-rock boom you probably won't find it dull, but it's not going to blow your mind or knock any of your post-rock idols off their pedestals.
 All Is Violent, All Is Bright by GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.81 | 149 ratings

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All Is Violent, All Is Bright
God Is An Astronaut Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Turillazzo

2 stars This is the first album I listened to by God is An Astronaut, and I think I won't dig any deeper in their discography. The whole album (with the exception of the title track) sounds like they are trying to be very deep, but they are just using some spacey sounds and some repetitive (though sometimes nice) riffs. Of course it has all a nice sound, but if you don't strictly use it as a soundtrack you will just find if very boring. If you like this kind of post-rock give it a try, but it really isn't my cup of tea.
 Far From Refuge by GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.90 | 80 ratings

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Far From Refuge
God Is An Astronaut Post Rock/Math rock

Review by thesleeper72

5 stars God is an Astronaut's third album definitely leans to the "rock" side of post-rock. This is not to say that they have completely abandoned their classic spacey sound. The drums seem to be more prominent and the guitar has more of a voice as well, yet they never resort to the generic power chords to get their point across.

Two personal favorites of mine are the title track and Grace Descending. The former starts off in the traditional GIAA format but its surprise comes at the end when it unexpectedly uses a distorted guitar for rhythm. While this is unexpected, it is a delightful surprise. Grace Descending starts off with a piano riff that continues to build into a great climax. All the other songs on here are fantastic as well. Songs such as Tempus Horizon, New Year's End and Beyond the Dying Light showcase the style GIAA is well-known for. Radau and Sunrise in Aries have a slight 90's rock feel to them. A unique little surprise comes in the transitional song Lateral Noise. Essentially, the song is mostly strange electronic noises yet at the end, the song gives a very apocalyptic feeling not out of place of The End of the Beginning.

This album is good for getting people into the group should they be interested (as well as AIV, AIB). However, if one does not like this group, this album is not going to change their mind.

 Age Of The Fifth Sun by GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.53 | 45 ratings

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Age Of The Fifth Sun
God Is An Astronaut Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Age Of The Fifth Sun' - God Is An Astronaut (7/10)

Along with Texan breakthrough artists Explosions In The Sky, the enigmatic Irish group God Is An Astronaut essentially dominate the instrumental post-rock sphere. Not unlike many of their contemporaries, the band is known for their soaring atmospheric sound, ethereal guitar arrangements and brooding compositions. While the band's fifth album 'Age Of The Fifth Sun' sees no revolution in the band's sound, God Is An Astronaut does deliver here, making for a pleasant, if not completely engaging listen.

Something that may differentiate God Is An Astronaut from other post-rock bands such as the aforementioned Explosions In The Sky is their use of electronics in their soundscapes, and in their songs for added atmosphere and effect. 'Age Of The Fifth Sun' may show the band progressing a little more into using electronic equipment in the mix, but existing fans of this band should expect nothing different from previous albums. Melancholic, yet uplifting, beautiful guitar work, lush backing ambiance and some of the most technically accomplished and tasteful drumming the genre has to offer are all staples of the music heard on 'Fifth Sun'.

The compositions are fairly minimalistic, which will inevitably lead to some finding the music somewhat boring, should they be looking for something a bit more to the point. However, each track here does retain some memorable qualities, and parts even reach the point of being 'catchy', in a pop sense. The opener 'Worlds In Collision' for example; while being far from the strongest track on 'Fifth Sun', it has a very engaging, energetic melodic section that seems to act as a 'chorus', and the rest of the track seems to meander around the peak, before trailing off into a beautifully done piano outro. However, the most stunning track here may be 'Shining Through,' which ironically is the most typically post-rock oriented piece of music on the album. Soaring and steadily building lead work from the guitar flies overtop the rest of the mix, before breaking down in a heavier climax. While many of the songs here appear to follow a similar formula, 'Shining Through' holds the most sway with me.

'Age Of The Fifth Sun' is nothing new for God Is An Astronaut, so those who dislike the band will keep on disliking. For anyone else though, the album stands as being a very good piece of work, despite the fact that the band has arguably done better for themselves in the past, and there isn't much here that we haven't already heard.

 God Is An Astronaut by GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.34 | 56 ratings

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God Is An Astronaut
God Is An Astronaut Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Easy Money
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars On this 2008 release God is an Astronaut stands on the verge of greatness, but they can't seem to shake the limitations of their chosen 'post-rock' genre. Like so many excellent modern progressive rock bands Astronaut needs to make that leap of faith that carries them into a more diverse and inventive musical path devoid of pre-determined formulas such as math-rock, neo-prog, various metal genres or post-rock.

Its certain these guys know how to set up a nice melancholy chord sequence during the verse and then blast that sequence with full majestic power for the chorus. Their melodies and chords are excellent, but the repetition of the loud then soft formula gets a little predictable after a while. Their whole compositional setup reminds me of when I was teaching several teenage guitar students during Nirvana's Teen Spirit ride on the hit charts. I believe the constant repetition of that song on the radio forever etched the soft verse/loud chorus structure into the receptive minds of our youth. A particular group of my students who could barely play the three chords to Wild Thing prepared a major opus for the school music assembly by playing those three chords very softly with mostly bass for four reps and then blasting the same three chords very loudly for four more reps. This went on and on for this particular school performance and the kids in the audience loved it. Thus post-rock was born.

To their credit though, Astronaut's dramatic choruses hearken back to the glory days of progressive rock, a feeling they enhance by occasionally adding some string synth for that massive faux Mellotron effect. Likewise, their melancholy verses carry a lot of emotional impact and occasionally channel Eno's world weary 70s ambient rock. Eno's presence is strongly felt here, but not so much as fellow Irish rockers U2. The likeness is so strong that on some tracks you half way expect Bono to come bellowing over the dramatic changes. Certainly guitarist Torsten Kinsella has picked up a lot from U2's highly original (at one time) Edge.

On the chorus to Shores of Orion you can almost hear something that sounds like a synth or guitar solo. Now there's a great idea, why doesn't someone just rip a solo now and again. It would also help if Astronaut would change up their predictable song structures occasionally as well. There is a very talented band here that is restricting themselves with the rules of their genre, but if you are looking for damn good post-rock, here it is.

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

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