Release Date June 10 2016 – A review from Reckless Ronny
Astakhans musical style could be easily categorized as sludge metal but there’s an intricate weaving of psychedelic doom, with occasional alternative grunge-dust (from the Californian desert ) sprinkled throughout, delivered in a progressive metal manner creating a fresh but familiar sound that is unique and well-conceived. Ranging from brooding tones to raging crescendos with well-placed vocal harmonics every song takes its own shape and purpose, never sounding repetitive or redundant.
For those of you that enjoy playing a vinyl LP from start to finish (or CD) “Reward In Purpose” follows that progression. The opening track “Omajod” is a 10 minute opus creeping out of the gate, with an ominous doom metal appeal, transforming into bright sonic versus, and imaginative under laid guitar passages. This album is not full of 8 to 10 minute doom metal by far but an exciting mesh of metal integrity as with “Turgid Waters”. Blasting things up a notch with a smooth melodic structure and an abrasive attitude, memorable guitar hooks and a swaggering rhythm full of excellent tempo changes, will dominate your speakers to the maximum.
As I said before this album plays through with some intro music such as of “Sages And Other Herbs” (oh did I forget to mention Stoner Metal?) instrumentals that take the listener from one song to the next, yet almost teasing at the same time. “The Traveler” will sweep you off your feet and bring you to a vivid soundscape, that evolves every step of the way. Ascending to raging peaks and swooning plateaus of rhythmic back beats that you’ll bang your head in belief, definitely one of my favorites on this album but there are more. “Hatchet” has a fast blistering tempo similar to Volbeat, yet impressive time changes and modes grooved together in a psychedelic heavy metal weld.
Segueing on to track 6 “Rabbits” incorporates a subtle melodic black metal sound akin to such bands as Borknagar, Dimmu Borgir or perhaps Opeth, Tool; combining complex influences- while structured on post rock/classic metal songwriting /musicianship. This band will cement their music into your cranium and on your playlist. “Microsmic Design” erupts like a wall of death poised and coiled to mosh. A wicked thrash groove accentuates this metal-core beast with a heavy blues soul, popping like a ball bearing in a pinball machine - hitting the mark.
“Forgetfulness” is a sweet multitrack guitar interlude that remind me of early Tony Iommi / Chuck Schuldiner with a Spanish guitar twist, leading onto the final track “Hand On The Stone” rather than rehashing a closing coda that melds with the opening track, Astrakhan shine brilliantly bringing the familiar doom metal groove yet embracing the listener to the many facets they’ve just experienced. Artistic integrity and genuine talent are evident throughout this disc and showcasing Astrakhan as a worldwide favorite in the metal schema theme’s with this release.
Never one to compromise ( releasing a debut album not reliant on past EP tracks) Asrtakhan are set to release a solid debt that is a welcome injection of life into a never ending metal scene that grows better every day, with additions such as this!
A sure gem that will find heavy rotation on my iPod ~maybe not to everyone’s tastes but a definite heavy metal musical escape that you will enjoy more than once, the music has direction, discipline and dynamics perfectly balanced in song.
\m/ 8/10 on my Reckless Ronny wreck-tor-scale \m/
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