Astronoid – Air (2016)

Whew, despite these Massachusetts based post-metal/rock/shoegazers making their mark among some of my peers, Metal Archives seems to have torn them to shreds. I think the point is made clear that those guys just don’t like heavily melodic shit and do not feel that it should be part of the metal genre. Well, this is indeed “heavily melodic shit” and of course they’ll be compared to acts like Deafheaven, Ghost Bath (especially now) and The Devin Townsend Band/Project. I guess the very minute that frontman Brett Boland opens his mouth and a horrendous roar doesn’t erupt from it, there are about a million black leather vest wearing metalheads ready to ask themselves, “what is this pansy shit?” So I guess that makes your Grim Lord one of the few that actually kind of appreciates the music and the melodies for what they are, and hell – I even like Boland’s voice. Not everything has to rip my throat out, and that may be a problem with our scene as a whole. It’s definitely a more modern kind of millenial metal as it were, which would appeal to people that don’t really like “dad rock” or more extreme types of the genre, and it’s more than likely hipster friendly. As a matter of fact, I don’t even have to look at the four reviews and the 66% that the record has been given to know that the word hispter is probably mentioned several times. I guess they could even call it non-GMO and gluten-free metal for vegans. But in all honesty, it makes for a very good soundtrack.

I’ll admit that maybe there are some slight comparisons to the emo genre in Boland’s approach, which makes me surprised as to why this band isn’t more popular. I work at Walmart and would actually consider this whole approach Walmart friendly. Seriously, let’s break it down. There are actually heavier bands being sold there now, like the very first Five Finger Death Punch album, which is leagues away from this. I’m not the biggest fan of those guys, but at least this wouldn’t have to get an “edited” sticker, and it has just as much firepower as some of the Metallica records that my store has for some odd reason been fucking stockpiling. And amidst all of the country, pop and golden oldies, my store still has a few copies of Deftones Gore album which is actually a bit heftier than this one – and that record isn’t edited either. To be honest, Astronoid is even radio friendly. Most people wouldn’t even know that this a metal album because it’s just so light and carefree. There are even pop fans who might find themselves caught up in it. These guys could end up getting a metal Grammy or even a rock one, since the style here is literally so close to either genre that it’s almost silly. They’re on Blood Music, which is a good thing because if they ever got on a major, they would probably be destroyed. The record literally sounds like whiny emo pop mixed in with light and melodic heavy metal bits that will appeal to more people than these guys even realize. If Astronoid came out twenty years ago, they would be all over the radio especially during that whole hard rock scene.

Yes, it’s proggy – but it has that whole “cute” vibe going for it, and many women eat that kind of shit up. No sexism here, just what I’ve noticed from being alive for thirty years and exposed to rocker chicks. Why in the hell do you think so many women love Maynard James Keenan? Because the man has vocals like glass and Boland seems to follow that. I mean, and if you look at these guys – they’re probably going to appeal to several chicks on Tumblr who are in the middle of writing short fiction erotica detailing their affairs with the frontman. This guy might even be the new Chester Bennington if he plays his cards right. I absolutely don’t hate it, but it’s definitely like an evolutionary step for Dashboard Confessional and Plain White T’s, maybe even Owl City. I sat through that entire Ocean Eyes album and don’t feel any better about it. By now, you probably get the idea. We have a band here that is artsy, hipster and vegan friendly as well as suitable for carrying in the local Walmart. I mean, you could probably pick this one up right next to the new Avenged Sevenfold album and call it a day. I will say that after awhile, even the vocal approach can become a little overbearing, so there is only so much of this I can take. People have been saying “pop-punk” as far as the vocals are considered, and I’m hearing that as well. This is very much a mixture of pop-punk/emo music with metal and maybe it’s the embodiment of Metallica’s “The Thing That Should Not Be?” or was that “St. Anger?” in any case, it is what it is – and we are stuck with it. So, pick it up if you’re interested, I guess.

(9 Tracks, 50:00)



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