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Astra:
The Weirding

Album Review

San Diego proggers create "moments of sonic revelation".

San Diegan quintet are unlikely to start an avalanche of like-minded bands Stateside. That’s a pity, for were the country that has already given us Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard, Coheed And Cambria and The Mars Volta to have more bands like Astra up their sleeves, then the already buoyant prog world would have even more to brag about.

As they told Prog, the band draw influence from such sources as Aphrodite’s Child, King Crimson and Pink Floyd. This concept album that tackles the potentially thorny issue of death and what might lie beyond drips with sounds that have gone before, yet portrays them with a modern air.

The centrepieces of The Weirding _are without a doubt the epic title track and the instrumental tour de force that is _Ouroboros, two colossal moments of sonic revelation that are destined to be future classics. They’re closely matched by the equally strident The Dawning Of Ophiuchus and the more folkladen sounds of Broken Glass.

Throughout the album throbs with the vibe that first reared its head on Pink Floyd’s 1971 masterpiece Meddle, yet Astra don’t sound like mere Floyd copyists. There’s a hell of a lot more going on here than that.

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