Astronoid is a four-piece band from Boston who, admittedly, I heard about in early 2018 but never bothered to check out. I would quickly realize how much of a mistake that was. When they rolled into town last year with one of my favourite bands, Zeal and Ardor, I was blown away by their performance. Their music is a mixture of post-metal, shoegaze, black metal and everything in between. And it just works.
In 2016 they released Air, which received a lot of praise. Fast forward three years later, and we have a brand new, self-titled record from these folks. I could hardly believe it, but somehow, they managed to out-do themselves, re-inventing their sound in the process, while still maintaining everything that makes them band amazing.
I already had a feeling this new record was going to be an incredible creation. The first two tracks of the album, “A New Color” and “I Dream in Lines” were released as singles about a month before the full-length release. Both of these tracks are incredible soundscapes of soaring riffs and melodies, made even more beautiful by Brett Boland’s voice, which somehow manages to sound soothing and powerful at the same time.
I don’t know how Astronoid do it, but “Lost,” is another example of how this band manages to make the balancing act of writing heavy, yet beautiful music sound easy. Any song that makes you want to headbang and sing-along in unison is a good thing, and that’s exactly what “Lost” will do to you.
“Fault” is a considerably slower song when compared to the tracks that kicked off this masterpiece. But don’t let that fool you for a second. It still packs a punch and is loaded with Astronoid’s trademark elevating guitar, and bass melodies with a perfectly timed drum fill that compliments the track perfectly.
As the record plays on, we arrive at the song that would become my favourite of the entire LP. “I Wish I Was There While The Sun” begins with the wistful lyrics “I’m missing the autumn.” I do too Brett. I do too. We find ourselves on another track that’s chock-full of thrash-like riffs that could strangely sit just as comfortably on a Slayer record as it would on a Deafheaven record.
Capping off the record perfectly are “Beyond The Scope,” a track that borders on electronic rock and “Ideal World” that opens up with a strangely soothing guitar melody and eventually ends in an explosion of sound that Astronoid has so perfectly crafted throughout the entire record.
If it wasn’t obvious, I love this band. Their fusion of metal could have gone one of two ways – it could’ve been a train wreck or masterpiece. It’s definitely the latter. In a time where metal can get stale, bands like Astronoid challenge everything the typical metal-head might think about the genre, that it needs to be fast, abrasive, heavy and violent. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely a time and a place for that (Nails and Primitive Man are two of my favourite bands), but this self-titled record is the soothing balm I need in my music, and I just cannot wait to listen to over and over again. You should too.
Written by Dominic Abate
*edited by Mike Milito