Few debut’s have blown me away with the force of Astronoid’s 2016 album Air. Fusing dream pop, shoegaze, death metal and thrash in a single work of mad genius, the Massachusetts post-metal outfit blended the plethora of distinct sounds so uniformly that they essentially spawn a new sub-genre in the process.
In terms of structure, Air feels like a thrash metal album transposed to a major key and overlaid with wispy, clean vocals. With their new self-titled album, Astronoid showcases their immense growth in songwriting by further blurring the lines between their various influences, and in doing so, they have improved on every aspect of their sound.
The vocals are more present in both the mix and how often they appear throughout the album, and this is probably what distinguishes the record most radically from its predecessor. Brett Boland has evolved leaps and bounds as a vocalist and lyricist, and the vocal hooks are leagues catchier and more hard hitting in every single song, especially on the tracks “Breathe” and “I Dream In Lines.”
By focusing more on the indie rock side of their sound, the abundance of shred in Astronoid’s music has certainly decreased, but by no means has it vanished completely. The band’s guitar chops are showcased most acutely on “I Wish I Was There While the Sun Set,” featuring a relentless barrage of chainsaw guitar riffs and double-bass-oriented drum shred that would leave even the most seasoned metal purist struggling to mop their melted face off the floor.
Astronoid have blasted through the sophomore slump, expanding and refining their unique sound in a way that displays an exponential growth in their collective songwriting ability while maintaining the energy and instrumental prowess that made their first album so captivating. Astronoid solidifies the band’s status as one of the most exciting innovators in both metal and indie rock.
When Tyler isn’t busy nerding out about new music, video games, beer or some random new coding project he picked up, he can be found writing for, performing with or shamelessly plugging his mathy indie rock band, Becoming A Ghost.