Review: Astronoid’s Self Titled Sophomore Album is Galactic as Fuck
Astronoid blew many of us away a couple years ago with their debut full-length, Air. Their dreamy approach to heavy music helped solidify the sugar-coated post-metal movement, a distinctive sound that Deafheaven have been playing with for a decade which has since been picked up by newer bands like Møl. Now that metal-gaze is officially a thing, Astronoid are back for round two. Does their latest self-titled endeavor (a bold move on their part) outshine Air, or does it fall into the dreaded “sophomore slump?”
Well, as many of you know, when God made me, she forgot to give me anything resembling an attention span; a record’s gotta be either short or extremely captivating to keep me engaged. Since Astronoid clocks in at about an hour and can be a bit slow at times, I found myself zoning out more often than not during my first listen. But that’s more of a testament to my recent taste in metal than it is to the quality of the album, and let my experience be proof as to why albums require multiple listens to judge: the more I listen to Astronoid, the more I like it. I’ve been subjecting myself to the repulsive end of the musical spectrum lately, so I’ll admit it’s been nice to spice things up with a bit of friendly, lustrous post-metal. There’s some real gems to be found on Astronoid where you least expect them — just when my attention starts to fade, I’ll be blasted back in by a moment of interstellar splendor.
The opening track, “A New Color,” sets the tone for the journey to come, inching ever closer to the stratosphere until finally breaking through with “I Dream in Lines.” “Lost” and “Fault” build up to an eargasm of galactic magnitude — you’ll need a minute to “Breathe” and chug a glass of “Water” after that bad boy. While you’re at it, don’t forget to applaud the fantastic production of the whole affair, which really comes to shine in the energy of “I Wish I Was There When the Sun Set” and the reverberant, all-encompassing intro to the penultimate track “Beyond The Scope.” Astronoid comes to a close with the monumental finale “Ideal World.” The last song can really make or break a record, but Astronoid have managed to wrap things up in an incredibly satisfying fashion.
Contrast and dynamic motion throughout speak for Astronoid’s keen sensitivity to a variety of genres, zooming through the cosmos with just enough force to satisfy metal fans but not so much that others will be turned off. Considering how many people rated Møl’s Jord as a favorite album of 2018, it’s a pretty safe bet that Astronoid will receive a similar response. According to vocalist/guitarist Brett Boland, the band’s pretty proud of it, too:
“After the completion of our sophomore album, we feel we have ventured further out of our comfort zone and created something special. The album encapsulates all the changes in our lives over the past couple of years. Astronoid is a testament to who we are as people, the music that consumes us, and the love in our lives. These songs hold a special place in our hearts and we hope that others can find the same solace in them that we have.”
If you dug Air, you’ll definitely dig the new record — it’s recognizably, well, Astronoid, but builds upon their previous work rather than rehashing old ideas. Astronoid is objectively good, and while it may not be everyone’s taste, I can say it’s offered a nice change of pace to my listening habits. I wasn’t enamored upon the first listen, but I continue to enjoy it more and more every time I spin it.