Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, April 18, 2014

Astra-Broken Balance

Astra is yet another great signing to Scarlet Records, one of the most exciting labels to be operating out of Italy right now. Their new record Broken Balance is a testament to the enduring power of a prog band who managed to stick it through thick and thin for thirteen years now. This record is dynamic and multi-layered, the kind of sound that you find yourself hopelessly lost in. Topped off with soaring vocals and some top notch guitar riffs, Astra is the sort of progressive band the world has left behind, and quite frankly, needs more of.

One thing that I really enjoy about the Astra sound is the sheer quality of the production. It keeps everything in check and gives the sort of hyper polished prog vibe that we all know and love. On top of this are some really well executed vocal lines, I mean, this guy takes it to a whole new level with a memorable style that is a joy to listen too. The guitar solos are also mind boggling at times. In particular, the soloing on the title track, Broken Balance is simply divine, it is just so tasty! The bottom end is also pretty interesting, exploring with a variety of cool. rhythms, some of the riffs even get pretty death metally at times, implying a bit of an Opeth influence going on to add flavor.

Broken Balance exudes passion and beauty. It tells us that even in a world as broken, messed up, and dull as this one tends to be, we can find something more, if we can give, have compassion and self control. Astra's music is hard to put into words, simply because it is transcendent. The light touches of keyboard add a wondrous bit of flavor to a record that just boggles the mind. I for one will certainly be going out and discovering Astra's discography in depth. They will strike you upon first listen, but still get better time after time, so crank up the speakers and dive in!

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