Customer Review

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prog-Rock Classic From The New Gods Of The Genre., 7 May 2012
This review is from: The Black Chord (Audio CD)
Having made something of a splash with their debut LP 'The Weirding', Astra return in no uncertain terms with 'The Black Chord' which will surely go on to attain 'classic' status as it takes what was great about their debut and moves the band into the realms of sonic perfection.
Opening instrumental 'Cocoon' sets the scene, coming on like late 70s Pink Floyd, shimmering synths coming over the horizon like the sunrise, the track slowly building momentum before guitar takes center stage as the band start to flex their muscles on this exhilarating prog-workout which acts as a perfect intro to this, frankly, awesome album.
The production is a notch above that of 'The Weirding' as the drums are mixed perfectly into the musical fabric, while the synth and guitars are melted together to produce a sound that shines like Floyd's '...Crazy Diamond': Heady stuff indeed.
Unlike their debut, this album clocks in at a more modest 47 minutes, the band somehow being able to optimize their approach without losing the epic, sun-kissed textures their first album had to offer.
The vocals ease their way in on tracks such as 'The Black Chord' & 'Drift', sounding mellow and well-suited to the dreamy landscapes which will enthrall you - like a mix between the aforementioned Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream's more prog-inspired albums from the late 70s.
The arrangements are strong throughout, as guitar and synths playfully combine on a series of prog masterpieces, each track ending up as a journey in it's own right, as imaginative instrumental passages coupled with strong melodies clinch the deal.
This really is 'all killer', and one in the eye for those who choose to dismiss progressive music as something which punk destroyed back in the day. Nowadays it's appeal is more selective, but nevertheless, if you value musicality coupled with a stunning sense of vision, you need to hear this. Buy now.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Jul 2012 12:06:39 BDT
Buddy says:
I got into prog Rock about two years ago because i started getting bored on monotone heavy Metal guitars.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2012 18:59:30 BDT
C. Wigman says:
Just a small note, the parent reviewer's repeated mentioning of Pink Floyd may in fact put some off this album. I can enjoy select prog rock (Locanda, Crim, 70s Yes), but post-Barrett Floyd always have been little more than a mawkish, pompous insomnia cure in my estimation.

I'm sure others will disagree, but crucially, if any reader here is into prog music, and is curious about Astra, please don't take the repeated mentions of Floyd to heart too much. There's practically no histrionic, depressing Waters-esque lyricisms, vocalisms or Gilmour guitar dentistry to be found on Astra's first album.

And I feel that's for the better.
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