Showing posts with label Astrosoniq. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Astrosoniq. Show all posts

Nov 17, 2010

Astrosoniq - Quadrant

Astrosoniq (sometimes spelled A5tro5oniq) is a band from Oss, in the Netherlands. They are also known by some people as the "wizards of Oss." The band has been around for over 10 years and have always delivered the goods so why they still remain an underground act is a mystery. This album comes 3 years after their last album, "Speeder People" but the wait has been worth it. Astrosoniq take their influences from right across the board from Black Sabbath to Hawkwind to Pink Floyd to Kiss, so their music has no boundaries at all but they have always been mostly within the Space Rock, Stoner, Psychedelic Rock spectrum. They are known for their Space-Rock fantasy themes and the use of sound clips from old movies and they continue that tradition with this new album titled "Quadrant."
The opening track, "Faustian Bargain" is automatically stunning with its "Hawkwindish" sound and its multi-layered musical approach. The psyche-rock edge blends effortlessy with the Heavy Rock grooves that build throughout the song. Vocalist Fred van Bergen delivers a mesmerizing vocal performance on the track and the sound experimentation seems so natural as if the band is on auto-pilot most of the time. The atmosphere of the track is pure Space-Rock, floating around the stars kind of stuff but with a touch of some heavy acid-drenched jamming. The construction of the song is flawless as it flows in a pure organic kind of way, tight but with the essence of a wild live performance.

"Cloud of Decay" seems heavier but also more industrial with a "Godflesh" kind of edge to it. They throw so much into this track it gives you something different to focus on with each spin and maybe they went a bit overboard but it still works and leads in beautifully into the next track, "As Soon as They Got Airborne." Over the 14 minute journey, they seem to tell you the story of the last 40 years of space travel through music that blends in Floydian elements with a kind of "Hawkwind" gone electronica sound. This sounds more like a loose jam than other stuff on the rest of the album and includes sci-fi samples that sound like they came from old B.B.C radio broadcasts. A lot of it is minimalistic but engaging at the same time but such is their ability to make something complicated sound simple. "Play It Straight" comes across as a pretty standard metal-tune for most of its duration and some of it is actually very commercial. Such is the case of "Lured," with former lead singer "Erik de Vocht" doing the vocals, the song still has an infectious groove though and as is the Astrosoniq way of things the band is always over-reaching, sometimes it is a bit hit or miss, on this occasion it is a miss. "Bloom" brings more surprises to the table with a country-ish vibe complete with a slide guitar by guest musician "Rene van Barneveld", formerly of "Urban Dance Squad."

By the time the song, "Zero" makes it appearance, you have already been on a constant musical roundabout and it continues, bringing in another musical shift and this is very weird and I don't even too sure if this experiment works at all. It is two bands playing the same song but in different time-signatures, on your right channel you hear Astrosoniq, but on your left channel your hear Dutch stoner-band Zeus, at first your reaction is what the f**k were they thinking but it does get better with repeated plays, a unique idea but not one I am in any hurry to hear again. "Downfall Lover" is classic Euro-Riff Rock but is not anything different from what has been done before from countless other bands. "Bored" is also straight-forward Stoner-Metal groovy stuff and by this point I always find myself wanting the Space-Rock of the first half of the album to return, where did it go ? The album ends on "Sin," which is another fascinating turn of events on the album as it is based around acoustic guitar and is almost like a "power-ballad." Strange but a unique way of finishing a very diverse album. This album is just as good as anything else Astrosoniq has ever done but after the cosmic magic of the albums first half, I found the second half a bit stale. One thing that does push this album apart from most others though is how each track has a personality all of its own and the band never gets trapped by their own self-indulgence. This is a wild journey that takes you around the cosmos and drops you back to earth with a thud when it is all over and done with. I do find it a little patchy but it 3/4's of this album rules so that is good enough for me to recommend it to everyone. Take a trip with Astrosoniq soon..........8/10
Official Site
Astrosoniq @ Myspace
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