Thursday 18 May 2017

Astronoid - Air


1. Incandescent
2. Up And Atom
3. Resin
4. Violence
5. Homesick
6. Tin Foil Hats
7. Air
8. Obsolete
9. Trail Of Sulfur

I slept on this record in 2016 and feel really bad for doing so. The fact that "Air" by Massachusetts post-metal quintet Astronoid came from the same label (Blood Music) that released Lychgate's "An Antidote For The Glass Pill", shows you that there are no boundaries within metal anymore. I say because both releases are at different extremes. Astronoid themselves have been a band since 2012, when they self-released their first EP "November" digitally. They followed it up with a single and then the EP "Stargazer" a year later. 2016 saw Blood Music release "Air' on multiple formats (Digital, CD, LP). They're playing a run of shows in the US in July alongside Tesseract having just appeared alongside Ghost Bath, so they must be doing something right!

Opening song Incandescent feels lonely as it builds, before the lowly plucked guitar gives way to a wall of atmospheric and cinematic sound with a subtle hint of driving metal. At times it’s almost like Cult of Luna and Fightstar are collaborating together, but once the dreamy vocals ring out that image vanishes. Even the kick-drumming doesn’t overpower it. Despite the humour intended with Up And Atom, the song itself is deadly serious and Astronoid weaves layer upon of layer of opposing sounds that just fit together perfectly. The technical guitar-work justifies the song’s tempo while the pop elements in the clean singing sit atop of the instrumentation providing colour and depth. Like a lot of progressive black metal and indeed progressive music in general, Astronoid write longer songs but those songs seem to fly by. Resin is almost seven minutes long but you wouldn’t think it. It’s just really listenable. The post-hardcore elements mean that it’s really hard to pin it down to a specific genre (or sub-genre). The song Violence is anything but. It’s a stripped back song with no drums and a brief playing time, allowing Astronoid to settle things down for a moment. It’s followed by Homesick, with it’s uplifting feel and heartwarming melodies. The bizarrely titled Tin Foil Hats takes Astronoid back down the heavier path (instrumentally anyway). The awesome punk-like rhythms that intersperse the double-bass throughout the song are a pleasure to hear. The title-track seems to define their spacey sound and while it might be hard for a lot of “extreme metallers” to take, it’s a sound works and deserves it’s place in the genre. As penultimate song Obsolete whirls by, you can’t help but feel good. The vocals effects provide a space-age modernity while the guitar-work gets ever better, as do the band as a whole. “Air” closes with Trail Of Sulfur and it’s menacing low-end. It brings to an end an album that’s completely flawed me. There’s definitely room for Astronoid amongst the raw, icy black metal and the blasting death metal in our lives. 

You stream and purchase "Air" digitally via Blood Music below:-

Sadly, "Air' appears to be sold out on both CD and vinyl formats though Astronoid may be have copies available in their store (at the time of writing it appears as though their store was temporarily down, so check back) -

Astronoid -
Blood Music -

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