Rating:
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Astra (USA) - The Weirding
May 2009


01. The Rising Of The Black Sun
02. The Weirding
03. Silent Sleep
04. The River Under
05. Ouroboros
06. Broken Glass
07. The Dawning Of Ophiuchus
08. Beyond To Slight The Maze


Whoa, this must be some righteous herb since for a moment there, I was fuckin certain I was at a psychedelic show during the late 60s or early 70s, man... So there I was, content for a little while, mind wandering, conjuring up wicked images of dancing flower girls until... a strange thought crept into my brain. Hmm, this bong seems slightly... unused. There is a layer of dust over it. What's going on?

As it turns out, I was just listening to the Astra record The Weirding, an album so unabashedly, unapologetically retro that it makes Witchcraft sound like Nine Inch Nails. Indeed, this album is produced in such a way that has vinyl written all over it and if you have the choice, I'd recommend getting it on that medium. Musically speaking, this is psychedelic rock all the way, inspired particularly by Pink Floyd's Meddle, with some hints of Black Sabbath. Guitar solos go on for ever, keyboards and occasional wind instruments add the obligatory narcotic vibe to it all, while the vocals are subdued and echoed, only to venture into a slightly more edgy, Ozzy-like delivery during the heavier moments. The album is largely instrumental, with the 17 minute epic "Ouroboros" being a particular masterpiece of textured, somehow liquid songwriting. Conversely, the title track is an angrier affair, with heavier guitars structured into distinguishable riffs and a soaring, emotional vocal performance. I'm fairly sure were this album to be released in the early 70s, it would actually be a classic by now.

Except that, of course, it wasn't. Is The Weirding relevant today? Actually - yes. It's no wonder that thoughts of flower girls broke my illusion of being high. This is not a hippie album and instead it somehow, in an indefinable way sounds like an escape from modern reality by someone contemporary. The song "The River Under" emanates a strange longing, somber sound but what I hear in it is real passion and emotion, a real spark, not one recycled from the flower generation.


Website: http://www.astratheband.com


 



Written on 13.05.2009 by
jupitreas
With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. Privately not actually an asshole, he lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he runs his small graphic and web design business.
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Introspekrieg - 13.05.2009 at 06:17  
Man, Ouroboros has been popping up everywhere lately. Must be because of Resident Evil 5...
Sounds like an interesting album Jup, I'll check it out as I'm in need of an escape from reality.
Shadowcross - 17.05.2009 at 16:36  
Wow! i really am enjoying this record. It also reminds me of Yes in terms of song structure (or lack thereof in some cases)
João Pirucas - 07.07.2009 at 00:41  
This band/album is AWESOME, great discovery!

I can't get Beyond to Slight the Maze out of my head!
JohnDoe - 12.09.2009 at 21:51  
I'm listening to the album right now, for the first time and I'm speechless; I'm glad i discovered it, this album is just a soul healer for me, one of the best things I've heard lately.
!J.O.O.E.! - 07.07.2010 at 18:01  
Great, great album this. I kept eyeing it up in HMV because of its rather splendid cover art before I realised I'd already downloaded it a year ago and hadn't listened to it. Sprawling and hazy.

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