Astronoid - Astronoid review



Reviewer:
N/A

43 users:
7.47
Band: Astronoid
Album: Astronoid
Release date: February 2019


01. A New Color
02. I Dream In Lines
03. Lost
04. Fault
05. Breathe
06. Water
07. I Wish I Was There While The Sun Set
08. Beyond The Scope
09. Ideal World


It's good when bands grow past their initial sound, but that's not always a safe thing to do. In Astronoid's case, it kinda makes them lose what made them stick out in the first place.

Astronoid's Air was an absolutely bold surprise back in 2016, when I first heard it. With the blackgaze sound already on a downward trend, it was amazing to hear a band that could actually sound fresh in that context. I eventually listened to their first two EPs as well, though it was still Air that I was mostly coming back to with its soaring clean-all-of-the-time approach mixed with those black metal blast beats and melodies. Despite how saturated the blend of black metal and shoegaze had become, I felt like it was an approach that was new. Now comes their second album, a self-titled one, which must mean that there ought to be a strong sense of identity on it.

And I'm not feeling it as much. It's quite instantly clear that this is still the same band that recorded Air, since the sugary and ecstatic vocals are instantly recognizable, but it feels like there's only half of what had made the sound stick. After a few minutes of listening I realized: the black metal element is gone. Or mostly gone; I could still feel some of it on tracks like "I Wish I Was There While The Sun Set". The album still contrasts the shoegaze with some djenty post-metal, but at this point it doesn't sound unique anymore. This is atmospheric djent that I have heard before. And I'm not gonna claim that it sucks just because "not metal anymore". I liked Alcest's Shelter or pretty much any 2000's Anathema album. Heck, I even like Opeth's Heritage more than Watershed.

It's about loss of identity. Usually bands feel like making such changes a bit later in their career when the weight of having to stick to a sound gets bigger and bigger, thus making their fans groan that "it doesn't sound like [whatever] anymore". But Astronoid still sounds like Astronoid, just much hollower. Instead of feeling fresh, their all-blissful approach seems one-dimensional and shallow; I could choose any half-minute sample from it and it would sound great, but having it stretch for an entire record gets quite tedious, even if the record isn't honestly that long. I am, of course, grossly exaggerating and the album does have its fair share of dynamic range and the post/djent/prog elements are quite well done and the drumming is still top-notch. I don't want you to go on with the impression that this isn't a good album. But they replaced being fresh in an overly done genre to being overly done in an overly done genre.

This could prove to be a misstep for Astronoid or maybe they could prove that they can grow even further and do something even better than their debut. But they have to either go forward or go back.


 



Written on 15.02.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 11   Visited by: 95 users
15.02.2019 - 11:30
Bad English
Masterchief
If band lost bm element it dies, that gaze thing 1th album is OK,rest well, how to say, boring. I dont like it, not metal, to soft, just music.
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15.02.2019 - 13:05
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
Yeah Astronoid was good because it was black with gaze vocals and not just "look another blackgaze band" or anything.

If they drop either one element or other it's either just gonna become "just gaze" or "just post black"
Still gotta listen to it, but I hope that's not the case
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2018 - 2019
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15.02.2019 - 17:32
Quatropus
Written by Bad English on 15.02.2019 at 11:30

If band lost bm element it dies, that gaze thing 1th album is OK,rest well, how to say, boring. I dont like it, not metal, to soft, just music.

I'm gonna have to massively and respectfully disagree with this in the fact that I believe stating what is Metal and what isn't just based on how it sounds to you is inherently gatekeeping artists and bands and I am not fine with gatekeeping at all. There are Folk Metal albums that are basically acoustic, but you'll still consider that Folk Metal? Saying if they lost their Black Metal element, it dies? In what way? I've been a huge Astronoid since Stargazer EP and while this album has seen a change from what they've done and I don't like it like I do with Air, I like it for other reasons that Air didn't do (better vocal recording, not all songs containing full blast beats or on the same BPM, etc). Air was great, but there were songs on Air I don't really listen to because it sounded very much like another track. If an album isn't for you, that's fine. It's okay not to be the demographic for an album, but you probably should try to avoid gatekeeping it's existence because it's just as welcoming as an album than what any other Metal artist/band has done in the past.
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15.02.2019 - 18:33
Bad English
Masterchief
I was taöking about gaze genres, folk metal has deep roots in nature, i love neo folk, but when bands as alcest lose bm touche its boring. True power metal is beter
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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15.02.2019 - 22:54
Fellow Duh Say
Maybe I shouldn't admit this but Air is one of my favorite albums this decade. I definitely over-listened to it to the point I go back to it and it sounds classic to me. They kinda had a Blink-182 of bm sound which could be seen as a bad thing but they were the only ones that did it and I liked it. Plus the obvious proggy elements. This musical era seems to be a first album era. I tend to be disappointed in second albums. Maybe bands are just more willing and able to change their sounds because they aren't being ruled by big record labels (on the whole). And maybe I should give these second albums more time. I agree that the blackgaze sound seemed to have plateaued before Air but there has been another wave of metalgaze since this album. Last year was a very good year for the metalgaze.
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15.02.2019 - 23:07
Fellow Duh Say
I am 5,6 tracks in. They went from the Blink-182 of bm to the Angels and Airwaves of prog. The album is worth a few listens for sure but not Air.
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18.02.2019 - 16:55
boo-boo
This indeed does feel like the BM element got watered down to a couple of beats here and there, even the guitars lack some drive. So sorry to see this happen.
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18.02.2019 - 20:58
Risto
Wandering Midget
Brett said somewhere they first tried to top Air, but then thought why not just make an "honest" record. With that in mind this seems like a true definition of sophomore slump.
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21.02.2019 - 23:28
JayMo4
Heritage IS better than Watershed. I'll just chime in now to agree with you on that before I give this a listen.
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21.02.2019 - 23:48
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by JayMo4 on 21.02.2019 at 23:28

Heritage IS better than Watershed. I'll just chime in now to agree with you on that before I give this a listen.

I see you're a man of culture as well
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24.02.2019 - 22:19
JayMo4
On the first listen, I feel like most of the traits that make Astronoid who they are are still present. Seems to me that if you were among those that were blown away by the last album, there's plenty here to enjoy. It's not as good as that album, don't get me wrong. But it was still solid.

Luckily for anyone too disappointed about the BM aspects, there are still a ton of blackgaze bands out there to pick from.
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