Astral Sleep – Angel   Leave a comment

I have always had a fascination with this band from Finland ever since they released “Unawakening” in 2008, something about them makes them so completely unique within the world of Death/Doom Metal. The concepts behind their songs are always interesting and musically they are incredibly bleak and above all else, heavy! Must be something in Finland we don’t know about because this country seems to have a endless supply of original and unique sounding bands. This EP called “Angel” though is great but at first I had a hard time taking it seriously, three songs which are all basically different interpretations of the same theme with lyrics that are so cheesy, Spinal Tap would be proud to use them. I question if they are even taking this seriously and if its just a bit of fun for them or maybe they just had too much time on their hands, whatever the lyrics in the booklet along with the band picture showing the guys dressed in white and looking like a early 80’s New Wave band had me confused and worried at first. However after several spins, the magic of this disc is unleashed and its a pulverizing example of how to fuse together Death Metal and Doom Metal into a single stream.

The band used the same set of lyrics for all three versions of “Angel” and the music for each track is written by a different member of the band. The first of the three part trilogy is the most intense musically of the three parts, it crushes you with a succession of pulverizing riffs before it transforms itself into a dark menacing Doom Metal track with hints of strong melodies, like a mix of My Dying Bride, Swallow The Sun and  Amorphis. This track covers a lot of ground, musically its great, lyrically though I couldn’t help but laugh at lines like “She Cuts Herself To Get A Contact, The Devil Tells Her What To Do” and “Satan Lives In Our Hearts, God Lives But He Is Weak”. Its not exactly thought-provoking material but maybe that is the point of it. The inclusion of aggressive parts and Death Metal elements stop this from being too depressive while the Doom elements are kept in small doses, this turns out to be a smart move on there part as it keeps the track interesting for its 11 minutes.

The second part of “Angel” is an transition from the Death/Doom hybrid of the first part into a more tradition Gothic Death/Doom approach. It moves from Black Metal influenced passages to Progressive Doom sections blending symphonic elements with a brooding intensity. The track gently progresses to a jarring ending of shrieking violence. The third part of “Angel” is the most Doom track of the three with atonal doom riffing that is sparsely played compared to the other two tracks, it begins with a Gothic vibe and builds into a Epic-Doom monster. While the track has some crushing riffage, it also seems the be a little bit of a let-down after the previous two parts of “Angel” but it does bring the musical trilogy around in a full circle. After just 30 minutes, the EP is over and it does make you wish it was just that bit longer. This EP is nowhere as atmospheric as the “Unawakening” so in that respect I found it disappointing but what it lacks in atmosphere it makes up for in some fine riffing. The production is gargantuan and the musicianship is great without being overly technical. “Angel” is a album you can’t just listen to once and then dismiss it, its a grower of a release that will satisfy you more with each spin, still can’t get over those lyrics though….7.5/10
Astral Sleep @ Mikseri.net
Astral Sleep @ MySpace
The Official Site
Solitude Productions

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Posted October 10, 2010 by doommantia in Astral Sleep

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