Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Astral Blood - 'Astral Blood' EP (Review)

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 24/2/2015
Label: Tridroid Records

‘Astral Blood’ track listing:

1). Secluded & Forbidden
2). Interlude
3). Our Almighty Gaze

Astral Blood is:

Andrew Rasmussen - Vocals, Lyrics
Tommy Curry - Guitar
Joe Waller - Keys, Bass, Drums, Guitar, Vocals


Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a terrifyingly good symphonic black metal band called Astral blood, creating a new feel for the genre that captures evil and darkness and then regurgitates it into your ears.
The EP opens with Secluded and Forbidden, immediately the track is in full gear. This is by far my favorite track from the EP because of the layering. It’s dark, terrifying, and beautiful all at once because of the depth created by the keyboard. Andrew Rasmussen creates authentic vocals that are easy to follow and complement the music. His lyrics for this track speak of death and evil shadows; they are well written and work with the theme the instruments are creating. The drums are blasting away, as any black metal drummer should, but with enough breaks so it doesn’t get too repetitive. This song is a must listen and you should try your best not to stage dive from your keyboard.
The second track is an eerie interlude of spoken word by Holly Axelrod. This poetic addition to the EP starts off with light piano work that is gloomy and at first misleading. Holly sounds like a witch casting a dark spell of revenge. This track works great with the theme of the EP and I thought that its placement was wise. After a while the song opens up and the guitars are playing some special doom riffage that makes the words darker and filled with rage. Even though the track is different in tone, the EP would probably feel empty without this track. A note to any listener, try and follow the violins in the background, there’s a lot transpiring if you listen for it.
The final track is great but I have to say it is very similar to Secluded and Forbidden. It opens with a wall of sound and the most impressive drum work on the EP. This track is a little grindier but after a repeated listens, you can really appreciate what’s going on. My favorite section is around 2:30, the guitar sounds so dark and almost droning. The guitars get light towards the end of the song but keyboards once again really shine throughout the entire song. The vocals end with a great dual approach, making the lyrics even more powerful and permeate. The lyrics speak of what we miss in life and I really think there’s a strong message behind it.
Astral blood’s self-titled work isn’t something that needs to grow on you. During my first listen I was completely taken aback and it quickly became a favorite. I’ve shown it to friends who appreciate this genre but I feel like any metal enthusiast can enjoy this. Yes it’s a very short EP to some standards, but that’s what’s so great about it. It’s a quick treatment for your metal needs. I consider this EP a must listen and deserves to be heard on different levels and lyrics to be read and interpreted.  I am truly impressed by this bands work and look forward to their next project.

Words by: Jihad Nasser

You can pick up copy from 24/2/2015

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