Astral Sleep - Visions
15 October 2012

01. The Towers
02. Channel Sleep
03. Visions
04. ...They All Await Me When I Break The Shackles Of Flesh

Visions is the 2nd full-length release from the Finnish doomsters Astral Sleep.

The album not only features some great artwork, but some great tunes as well. While there are just four tracks on the release in typical doom fashion you're getting pretty close to an hour's worth of music in those songs.

And while the music starts straightforward enough with slow, drawn out doomy riffs, mournful melodic leads and deathgrowl vocals, the band aren't afraid to vary it up. And by vary it up, I don't mean cut back and forth between slow doom and ambient passages, but a considerably wider degree of variance than I typically expect to find in the genre.

Tracks do slowly move along before changing styles, such nine minutes of snail-paced doom before "The Towers" gives way to a mellow, clean tone section before switching gears again back to distortionland. "Channel Sleep" is six minutes and change of more traditional doom before ceding to a chill acoustic interlude, wait… a shriek and a short doom-funk guitar riff gives way to a powerful, midpaced sliding riff which injects some vital energy to the song before collapsing back to the original approach.

For whatever reason the stylistic shifts just stand out as more pronounced and vivid than the vast bulk of doom releases I've pounded out words describing.
The vocals enjoy the standards - aforementioned death growls, some well done clean singing, and the occasional rasps, it seems at least at one point in each of these epic length tracks they toss in some hair-raising shrieks. First time they broke that out I was confusedly looking around the room wondering if I had stepped on my cat's tail. All of the approaches are well done, even some of the high-pitched shrieking which is perhaps not so well done, but yet still amusing enough that I approve.

Ultimately perhaps this album doesn't hit me emotionally as hard as some other releases do, but that shortcoming is balanced by quality song construction coupled with the direction changes. Four extended tracks that don't move me like, say, Warning could be a recipe for sleep of the non-astral variety, but instead they kept me intrigued and engaged.

And rest assured, should you nod off, one of the aforementioned sporadic shrieks will catapult you back to consciousness in a rather unpleasant way.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Band profile: Astral Sleep
Album: Visions


Written on 01.02.2013 by
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
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Cynic Metalhead - 01.02.2013 at 07:21  
I enjoyed this record immensely. For me, 8 would justify to this album.
InnerSelf - 01.02.2013 at 15:08  
Checked it based on Cynic's recommendation earlier this year and I remember liking it, will get around listening to it soon I guess. Nice review, as always.
!J.O.O.E.! - 01.02.2013 at 15:53  
Beksinski artwork? Definitely looks like an emulation of one anyway.
Merchant of Doom - 02.02.2013 at 11:58  
Needs a few spins to get into it. Nice review. It's an 8 for me.
Unhealer - 02.02.2013 at 19:43  
Also heard it when Cynic recommended it. It was pretty awesome, I'd also rate it higher.
BitterCOld - 02.02.2013 at 21:10  
For consideration, my average album score is 7.4. both unhealer and Cynic average an 8.2 rating... in my opinion you have MS Rating Syndrome and pretty much overvalue everything.

a 7.7 from me means a "higher" opinion than a flat 8 from you.

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