If you’re not enjoying what you’re writing and recording, you’re not going to create a good piece of music. That’s what befell post-metal outfit Astronoid in the aftermath of their stunning debut Air. Six months into attempting to outdo their previous album, they realized that there was nothing to prove and that they should start creating for the sheer fulfillment of it. From here, Astronoid was born, their self-titled sophomore record out on February 1st via Blood Music, described by the band themselves as ‘us in our purest form’.
Imagine, if you will, the sensation of flying gracefully above the clouds. You can feel the air brush across your face with every meter you glide, the stratosphere below you an unending carpet of white. You’re at one with the world, entirely at peace and experiencing more freedom than you’ve ever had before. This is what it’s like to listen Astronoid. Sure, it has its heavy moments – there are some seriously big riffs to kick off the likes of ‘Lost’, ‘Breath’ and ‘Water’, but the intertwining threads of prog, post-black and shoegaze combine in complete harmony to create an album of heavenly nature, as if providing the soundtrack to the moment between life and death when a departing soul ‘sees the light’ and finds rest. Appropriately enough, it can feel like but a moment has passed once the last few notes of the superb closing song ‘Ideal World’ have drifted away, for Astronoid will wrap its ethereal arms around you and hold you close for the duration of its near 48 minutes.
It cannot be stressed enough how wonderful each element of Astronoid is either. The reverberated vocals from Brett Boland breeze through like a choir of angels, backed up by some excellent guitar work from both him and Casey Alward, all the while rooted in the basslines of Daniel Schwartz and the exemplary drumming of Matt St. Jean; the latter particularly shines on lead single ‘I Dream In Lines’. The production, done by the band themselves at a home studio, is lush and full, allowing the record to cancel out all other sounds and distractions, thus commanding the listener’s full attention throughout. There are also so many layers that repeated listens are strongly advised, although that won’t be much of a challenge given at how much the album hooks itself in on even the first playthrough.
Astronoid were rightfully laden with plaudits after the release of Air and there has been much expectation about Astronoid, so it’s a delight to confirm that they have lived up to them more than sufficiently. The year might still be in its infancy, but this record will still bowl you over by the time 2020 rolls around, and will likely continue to do so for decades after.