Listen to Astral Visions Podcast

keskiviikko 31. elokuuta 2016

Candlemass - Death Thy Lover

Napalm Records ‎– NPR 640 DP 

Swedish epic doom metal giants Candlemass used to be one of my favourite bands in the late 80s and albums like Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Nightfall and Ancient Dreams are still very dear to me. After Chapter IV put out in 1992 they stopped for several years and after their reunion, re-reunion etc. they have only been marginally interesting in my books. I still go see them if I can (who ever the singer is) and check out their new stuff, but that's about it. Anyway, the founder member, bassist Leif Edling still knows how to write heavy, gloomy tunes even though I think he doesn't play in the live band anymore. In 2016 they celebrate the 30th birthday of the band with this four-track EP that doesn't actually sound bad at all.

The title track starts off the EP and presents the band in their faster heavy metal mode. It rocks and even has a catchy chorus! "Sleeping Giant" is a mid-tempo riff monster that also works really well. The slower and doomier "Sinister and Sweet" even brings back memories of the 80s Candlemass vibes with it's more peaceful, beautiful passages as well as the ultra heavy riffs. The last, instrumental track "The Goose" is even slower, dark and gloomy, rather Ancient Dreams in style as a matter in fact. This is a very fine EP with great production, good, solid songs, melancholic moods, marvelous heavy riffs, majestic guitar solos and great vocals, what else could a doom metal fan wish for?

Suns of Thyme - Cascades

Napalm Records (NPR 662)

"Krautgaze" band Suns of Thyme from Berlin have released their second LP earlier this year, so I'm a bit late again. I liked several songs on their 2013 debut Fortune, Shelter, Love and Cure (especially the hypnotic "Soma (God For Gods)" and "Asato Maa", check them out!), but some tracks just were a bit too mainstream for me and not really interesting. Cascades has the same problem, it's partly some sort of psychedelic rock, but then they sound more like U2, Depeche Mode or The Cure or something, that also goes for the vocals. Never that bad, I must admit, but just not very mind-blowing or exciting for me. Also the guitar sound is too much the same with lots of stereo chorus of something all the time. They do get a bit experimental for example on the short, peaceful instrumental "To Vanish" and Oriental & mystical on another one called "The Field" and have some great melodies and stuff, but this album just doesn't do it for me, sorry guys.

tiistai 30. elokuuta 2016

Monkey 3 - Astra Symmetry

Napalm Records

Monkey 3 from Switzerland have been amazing heavy stoner rock fans with their psychedelic, instrumental and spiritual music for fifteen years now and they have quite a big following especially in Europe. They have played most of the European heavy stoner rock/ metal festivals along the years, and really are a great experience live.

Astra Symmetry, the band's latest album will see the light of day tomorrow, so I'm just about in time with my review for once... Sorry, I don't really have any time to write here anymore! The CD and 2LP will include 12 tracks that are rather varied. We have the heavy, metallic riffs and very talented guitar solos, beautiful, post-rock like keyboards and synths, very nice, melancholic melodies, modern progressive vibes, and what's probably the most important aspect, the hypnotic, trance-inducing elements. Most of the tracks are rather slow and meditative, like the wonderful "Crossroad" that also has some cool, soft vocals that fit in very well. There are also a bit stronger vocals for example on the heavy and doomy "Dead Planet's Eyes" making the band sound even a bit like later Candlemass, although with Mellotron sounds... This is a very emotional, sad and beautiful album, although powerful and cosmic as well. I prefer the hypnotic, cosmic and trance-inducing stuff that takes you someplace strange and mysterious when you close your eyes and let it go. There are lots of those moments in there! Some faster tracks like "Seeds" also rock out more. "Astrae" is just a rather short spacey ambient piece, but it also has its place on the album that is really well constructed as a whole. One of my favourites is the very Eastern/Oriental sounding "Abyss" that gets pretty heavy and also has vocals, really deep stuff. Prepare yourself for an astral journey and just put this great album on, you won't regret it!

torstai 25. elokuuta 2016

Saturnia – The Real High

Elektrohasch Schallplatten ‎(ELEKTROHASCH 172) 

Luís Simões from Portugal is the mastermind behind the psychedelic entity called Saturnia. I’ve been a fan since the early albums in the late 90s and Saturnia has never let me down. This time we are taken really high with the new album… Saturnia’s music used to me more electronic in the early days, but now it’s a perfect combination of old early 70s kosmische music, groovy jazz vibes, beutiful Pink Floyd / early King Crimson like prog passages, space rock, psychedelia, electronic music and Eastern-tinged ethnic vibes. The previous album AlphaOmegaAlpha in 2012 was one of the highlights of that year for me and I especially enjoyed the more energetic, Hawkwind styled space rock tracks like the opener "I Am Utopia", that I have been playing a lot as a DJ. The Real High is very relaxed and floating almost all the way, so don’t expect much up-beat hard rocking this time, except parts of the fourth track "Mandrake Scream" etc. The music is very smooth, peaceful, relaxing and somehow healing, at least spiritually. You feel better after listening to this stuff, which is great. Too much of today’s music is dark, aggressive and gloomy, but not Saturnia. This is the perfect soundtrack to a peaceful, enjoyable and cosmic hippie summer and created to make you feel good, not bad. Excellent! The instrumentation is pretty varied with tons of synthesizers, organ, guitar, bass, drums, percussion and various acoustic instruments like sitar, tampura, gong etc, and the soft, soulful vocals are sublime.

There are eight tracks on the CD and vinyl, that is not available yet. My favourites are probably the the title track "The Real High" (just check the amazing video!) and the celestial "Heavenly Bodies", but I really like all the tracks a lot so there are no fillers. As usual, Luís has a couple of collaborators on the album: Tiagp Margues plays the amazing Moog solo on "Most Beautiful" and Adelaide Simões does the heavenly vocals and speech on the ethereal last song "Shells". This is the perfect album to listen to when you want to relax and feel fine and uplifted. Just check it out!

lauantai 20. elokuuta 2016

The Luck of Eden Hall - The End of the Line / Blown to Kingdom Come 7"

Mega Dodo Records (MEGA6)

The Luck of Eden Hall is a great neo-psych rock band from Chicago that I guess most of my readers are already familiar with. They have been around since the late 80s (okay, with a little hiatus in the middle) and put out 25 CD and vinyl releases altogether on labels like Fruits de Mer and Headspin Records, and I've been a fan since they sent me some of their CD's around 10 years ago. This brand-new single released this week includes two new great songs. The A-side "The End of the Line" is influenced by Neil Gaiman's book The Ocean at the End of the Line, and is bit more darker and sinister than what the band usually comes up with. It starts off in a slow, dreamy and a bit spooky manner. Only after three minutes the track starts rocking for a while and then slows down again. I love the vibe of this over five-minute long song that is not available elsewhere! To the band's great enjoyment Neil Gaiman was happy to draw the single's pretty minimal cover. On the flipside, "Blown to Kingdom Come" is a faster, energetic pop psych song a bit in The Beatles vein (but even better, if you ask me...). You can also hear the song on the band's new album The Accelator of Time that I just recently reviewed. If you want to buy a copy hurry up because this is very limited edition of only 150 copies on black vinyl and 150 on clear blue only for the Mega Dodo Singles Club members.

perjantai 19. elokuuta 2016

Electric Orange - Misophonia

Adansonia Records (AR012)

After the electrifying party music 10" Nein! HITS à Gogo - Golden Recordings the German hypnotic krautrock masters Electric Orange return to their extended instrumental, spacey and psychedelic mind excursions on their new 2LP Misophonia. It's their 11th album! I'm glad they have found home at Adansonia Records since you know you will always get high quality products with this label, and also highly limited die-hard editions with all kinds of gimmicks which is important for us collectors. This time the most limited 2LP version, the clear vinyl limited to 100 copies, comes with slipmat.

The album starts off with the long (18:09), peaceful, droney and dreamy "Organized Suffering" that takes you to other worlds immediately. Another long mind-journey "Bottledrone" is even more laid-back and ethereal, and very enjoyable as well. At "only" under eight minutes in length, "Demented" is a bit more percussive but still rather floating stuff. The title track "Misophonia" is divided into three parts that are scattered on the second LP, and is probably the most hallucinogenic stuff on the album. "Misophonia I" starts off in a dark, very ambient way, but a hypnotic rhythm is added in the middle. Shorter (4:40) "Shattered" has some jazzy moods and cool rhythms but still stays rather minimal. "Misophonia II" is just a short, weird interlude that takes us into "Opsis", a very mystical and mesmerizing piece that I like very much. The best part of the album still is the last track "Misophonia III". This 17:36-long trip has some heavier guitar as well and is very psychedelic and have the ability to transport the listener into some very strange planes of existence. It has lots of weird, spacey sounds and again that hypnotic beat. This works marvelously especially with headphones and eyes closed, try it! I'm in trance. Another killer album by Electric Orange, what else can I say? Also available on CD from the band's Bandcamp site.

tiistai 16. elokuuta 2016

Dj Astro's playlist 15.8.2016 @ Elmun Baari, Helsinki (Camera & Jupiter)

Dj playlist:

Blue Öyster Cult - This Ain't the Summer of Love
Death Hawks - Dream Machine
Liquid Sound Company - A Splash of Colour
Eno - Needles in the Camel's Eye
Acid Mothers Temple - Force in the Third System
Circle - Vaellus
Avaruuskorpraali Paha Hirvi - Avaruus, avaruus
Spacemen 3 - Big City
Kraftwerk - Radioactivity
Hawkwind - Void of Golden Light / Lives of Great Men
Eat Lights Become Lights - Velocet Vir Nesat
Black Sabbath - Dirty Women
Gong - Flying Teapot (A Sacred Rhythm Extension and Cosmic Overdub)
Arzachel - Garden of Earthly Delights
Blue Öyster Cult - Don't Fear the Reaper
Earthless - Acid Crusher
Brainticket - Places of Light
Moon Duo - Seer
Amon Düül II - I Can't Wait (Part 1 + 2)
Goat - Run to Your Mama
(+ more Goat & Spacemen 3!!!)