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Astral Sleep : Unawakening

What strikes at first are the numerous rich and varied melodic patterns that articulate smoothly without any dead periods. What also seduces is the emotional force of the Holy Doom that Astral Sleep delivers, uttering its severe words and sowing the seeds of bitterness and disillusion.

Astral Sleep is a band that isn't easy to fully grasp: a couple of spins leave you with an ambivalent feeling. Is this ridiculous or brilliant?

Is it a devoted band that embraces the authentic themes (narratively and rhythmically spoken) of Doom with the strength of conviction that only distinguishes the best? Or is it a bunch of wacky, almost pathetically mentally handicapped improvised Doomsters who've just discovered the irresistible pleasure of crushing the strings of a guitar, of bellowing into a microphone and shattering a drum kit?

So yes, it took some time for me to choose the first option: Astral Sleep brings us a great album, rich and varied, full of genuine melancholy, crossed by the right pulsations which make a real Doom album.

Musically, Astral Sleep shares some similarities with Aarni, Umbra Nihil or Gallileous also; it's harsh and melodic Doom Death Metal at the same time. They do not hesitate to throw their guts in the battle (that's the kind of commitment I could compare with the innocence full of energy of a mentally disturb individual; take that as some kind of twisted compliment!). So, next to beautiful insistent guitar lines (lead and rhythm guitar are excellent and remarkably complementary), you have a heavy, utterly Doom rhythmic section, overwhelming and threatening. Then there are the vocals, superbly extravagant: growling like a bear, howling like a werewolf; an uninhibited performance which can make you laugh, but laugh out of excitment! Not to mention the demented drummer who happens to provide psychotic outbursts that can only be inspired by the sheer pleasure to play. That is totally fun!!

'Unawakening' shifts from abrasive moments, obscure and crawling to almost Blues Rock illuminations, from sound of waves and gulls’shrieks to soft and cosy folkish guitar lines followed by deeply sad melodies on the accordion; add the beep of the sonar of a submarine and guess what kind of weird piece of music you are dealing with!

I also want to highlight the work of the lead guitar, very melodic and inspired as well as the numerous rhythmic breaks that make each track a surprising and exciting trip. And it’s definitively fun! Curious, but you can feel that kind of animal side, something like: "OK, we don’t give a damn! Let's play!" That’s what I call the FEELING.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. End of Ages
2. Cosmic Key
3. Expression
4. Distant Dreams
5. Away From the World

Duration : Approx. 66 minutes.

Visit the Astral Sleep bandpage.

Reviewed on 30-07-2009 by Bertrand marchal
Vanha - Black Lion
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