Post Metal, Shoegaze, Post Black, are all genres of music where the risk that the form overcomes the substance is extremely high. And when I initially approached Astronoid‘s self-titled new LP I thought this was the case. The album in fact starts with a couple of songs which do little more than showcasing all the standard catalogue of sounds, effects and progressions that one expects from this type of music, but with average results.
Fortunately, going forward on the LP we come across a number of pieces that are definitely more inspired and, to some extent, original. Songs like Lost and Water, just to mention a few examples, are able to combine the typical crescendos and the layered structures of post metal with melodies and atmospheres which eventually transmit stronger emotions.
However, the overall quality of the album is affected by the presence of a number of weaker tracks and in the end the LP is not as memorable as it could have been if all the songs were at the same level of the best ones.
Astronoid is an American post-metal band which started in 2012 as just a studio project formed by vocalist and guitarist Brett Boland and bassist Daniel Schwartz. This project eventually expanded into a more conventional four-piece formation with the entry of drummer Matt St. Jean and guitarists Casey Aylward and Mike DeMellia (who later left the band). Since their early steps, the band were attracted by the sounds of shoegaze and the architectures of post-metal, arriving to consolidate a personal style of music for which they also coined a specific term, Dream Thrash, which, however, I personally consider rather insignificant. In their music, in fact, there is almost nothing of the speed, the fury and especially the irreverence of thrash metal. Rather, we find in their songs an appreciable research for sonic elegance and expressive intensity.
Astronoid is the band’s third LP. Boland and his bandmates made an impressive effort to build up another collection of complex and articulated songs. The result, however, seems to me less exciting and impressive of what I heard in their previous works, and this is mostly because the melodies, and the songwriting in general, appear less inspired and immediate. My overall rating is 6/10.
Highlights: Lost and Water.