Astronoid - Astronoid
Blood Music
9 songs (47' 34")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Andy

Astronoid is back after a few years with another effervescent helping of poppy shoegaze-metal guaranteed to delight Deafheaven listeners and their ilk, and to be met with derision by hardened cvltists. But the limb they've climbed out upon, if not breaking, is emitting audible cracks. It might seem a surprise that after a low 90 score for their previous album, that a second one without a significant change in direction would get a much lower score, but the reason is simply that their self-titled album, even smoother and dreamier than Air, contains even fewer black metal elements while being substantially less memorable.

The production may be part of the problem here. Air's guitars, treble turned way up, had a little of the lo-fi sound of old-time black metal, making the mash-up the band does more interesting; Astronoid, on the other hand, blurs Brett Boland's angelic tenor vocals with the guitars; the bass and drums chug at the bottom end, contributing to the muddiness of the mix. Traces of what has worked for the band sparkle here and there: A New Color has a decent melody and a little less of the pervasive blandness that appears in many subsequent tracks, and Lost's Alcest-ish riffing is also very good. Others miss the mark entirely; I Dream in Lines is a boring mess, and Beyond the Scope, though it starts well, never develops its potential.

Underneath all this is the sense that Astronoid is moving even farther away from their black metal influences than before; even with some stabs at blastbeats and tremolo picking underneath all the dreampop syrup, Astronoid is a more undifferentiated album, both sonically and melodically, than they've done before. At the time of this writing, Deafheaven, which has been subject to many of the same criticisms as this band for its post-metal experimentation, has just released a good solid black metal song, lauded by a recently-baffled fanbase. But at least they are capable of surprises. Astronoid, while not a terrible record, shows no capacity to surprise at all, and only a little to interest.


Killing Songs :
A New Color
Andy quoted 73 / 100
Other albums by Astronoid that we have reviewed:
Astronoid - Air reviewed by Andy and quoted 90 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:05 am
View and Post comments