The Grand Astoria – Omnipresence …   Leave a comment

The Grand Astoria continue their prolific releasing of albums with ‘Omnipresence’ and yes it wasn’t too long ago they released ‘The Grand Astoria II.’ This band despite flying under the radar for most people is simply one of the best bands in the world at the moment, you could say a undiscovered (by many) gem of a band. The band is joined by an array of guests and they also pay tribute to Ray Bradbury in the liner notes as well on this exciting release. The artwork or packaging is spectacular, as it is beautifully presented and produced and it is also about an hour long so this is ‘value for money’ folks. If you have never heard The Grand Astoria, and you love stoner, psychedelic-rock, you will dig this. They have the fuzz of classic Fu Manchu but they bring the sound and style to the present day. They sound incredibly fresh which makes them sound like a potent force to be reckoned with. They also have a 70’s rock melodic sensibility so elements of Black Sabbath appear but only to reinforce their already infectious arrangements. The main difference with ‘Omnipresence’ compared with earlier releases is this is more varied which in hindsight is a major bonus as it makes this an album you can listen to from start to finish with ease.

The band is built around guitarists Kamille Sharapodinov (also vocals) and Igor Suvorov or at least it sounds like that especially with all the guest players on this album. There is four different people adding keyboards for example which is a little bit of overkill but it all sounds great when all is said and done anyway. The opening two tracks, ‘Doomsday Party’ and ‘Hungry & Foolish’ come at you with killer fuzzy riffs and infectious hooks and grooves. ‘Doomsday Party’ is far more complex than the latter as it verges on a Atomic Bitchwax kind of style while ‘Hungry & Foolish’ is more straight to the point stoner-metal, simple and hits you straight between the eyes. This is a perfect way to start the album but they take some major detours from this point on and 99% of them work. ‘Mania Grandiosa’ is pure Sabbathian boogie and there is many songs from the Sabbath catalog you could compare it too but I will judge it on its own merits here. Along with the great feel of the song, the thing that really stands out is the vocals of Kamille Sharapodinov. All his vocals are great but he really nails this tune.

‘Omniabsence’ is a psychedelic, space-rock instrumental and perfectly sets the mood for the album’s second half which begins with another masterpiece titled ‘Rat Race In Moscow.’ It is incredibly infectious with guitar work to droll over, especially with the orgasmic lead break. The feel of the song is stoner-metal-punk which is in total contrast to what follows, a 12 minute spacy epic titled ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.’ In many respects, this is the band at their most traditional as they pull out a hybrid of 70’s rock influences. There is a sampled speech in the middle of it that adds atmosphere but what seals the deal is the guitar work of Sharapodinov and Suvorov, these guys trade licks back and forth in an extended instrumental break in the middle of the track and it is amazing. ‘The Song Of Hope’ follows nicely but is maybe the weakest track on the album, its funky and strange but once you hear it a few times, it also becomes embedded into your mind for eternity.

The title track ‘Omnipresence’ plays like the companion piece to ‘Omniabsence’ and then the album ends on ‘Stonewall’ which is killer and the most metal I think this band has ever sounded, great track. Without a doubt if this album gets heard by more people, it will be album of the year for many of us. It is not only the best album they have ever made but one of the best albums of its kind. It is eccentric with its genre-bending but flows from start to finish without ever having a major misstep as even the weakest track, ‘The Song Of Hope’ is a grower. This album I feel is so good, I had to have it in the Doommantia Webstore, you will see it in there by the end of today. You need your head checked if you don’t take a listen to this great album from The Grand Astoria. …..9.5/10
The Grand Astoria @ Facebook
The Grand Astoria @ MySpace
Buy It Here Available April 1st

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Posted March 31, 2011 by doommantia in The Grand Astoria

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