Astra - The Weirding

1. The Rising Of The Black Sun
2. The Weirding
3. Silent Sleep
4. The River Under
5. Ouroboros
6. Broken Glass
7. The Dawning Of Orphicus
8. Beyond To Slight The Maze

Richard Vaughan - guitar, mellotron, echoplex, vocals
Conor Riley - mellotron, arp odyssey, organ, guitar, vocals
Stuart Sclater - bass
David Hurley - drums, percussion, flute, various noisemakers
Brian Ellis - guitar, moog, vocals


Released 05/2009
Reviewed 06/23/2009

rise above

For one thing it is not easy to find this band just by doing a web search on the bands name. You may want to search in another way if you wish to find information on the band, unless you are fine with searching amongst AstraZeneca and that stuff on the interweb. Anyways, I found the band’s myspace site in the information sheet that accompanied this album. There I found some of the information required to write this review.

Like a hammer on anvil, down from Ether’s starry meadows, the sounds of Astra are engulfing the Earth. Well at least this is what the band state on their myspace and it is also what is stated almost last in the information for this promotional record. The information is rather stuffed with superlatives about this band and this record and you have to sift carefully through it all in order to find some more substantial information. I was able to dig one thing up though, and that was the fact that the band already has shared the stage with big names of the genre like Bigelf (kind of funny there, wasn’t I?). Of course I am talking about progressive rock music, and what better way to acknowledge that than raising the right arm pointing forwards? After all progression is all about that.

Now then, music? Progressive rock, self centred music that no one understands and a few claims to understand, like Genesis or some other crap from that time. Musically it is all about melodies, not your usual melodies but melodies with different structures and often stretching over great distances in the vastness of the rock musical landscape. This band and this record doesn’t sound particularly like any album or band I have heard but then again it is rare that this kind of music do. It is kind of difficult to describe in words but you could always check the video that is embedded in this review for more hands on experience. Anyway, melodies and clean suitable production is what it is all about if one is making it simple.

I like the clean production these guys have created for this album, the sound they have created for this record is sort of mesmerising. I am impressed by the sound this band have managed to create with this album. The Weirding is kind of a fitting term as some people probably would call this kind of music weird. There are eight songs on the record where the first two are really great, the second one is the title track and that i one song I usually have repeating in my head after this record.

I think the problem for this record is that it is a bit too complex, a bit too much of everything. There is for instance a 17 minute instrumental song, well it is a rather good track but it is one of those which add to this feeling of a little too much. These Americans feel a bit too much of everything really, not that it is bad or poor in anyway but too much of the goods are not always good either.

Astra has a very interesting and mature sound, it is rather hard to believe that this is the debut album of these American fellows. The sound of the record squeals of more experience than that but on the other hand maybe this feeling of too much of everything could be attributed to inexperience.

Well, this an album that promises more than it delivers, but it also gives promise to an interesting future of a band that can go far in a genre that might wake up again from its silent sleep.


Label - Rise Above Records
Three similar bands - Knight Area/Genesis/Ritual
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm