Have a listen to: "Pale Moon" and "Til' Dawn"
Asteroid – III
Release Date: 11th November 2016/9th December (US)
Asteroid have had a dominant presence in the heavy psychedelic community. A strong influence of British & American blues respectively, add to that some heavy hitting stoner-rock and some Swedish folk for good measure and you have the ingredients the make up the band that is Asteroid.
Asteroid released a split record in 2006 with Blowback, two full lengths in 2007 and 2009 and a 7” in 2012 and extensive touring up until 2013 when the band took a break. 2016 dawned the comeback of Asteroid after some appearances at DesertFest in Athens, London and Berlin. Now the band are back with the force of the cosmos behind them with their new full length LP ‘Asteroid III‘.
The influences on the album become immediately apparent, album opener ‘Pale Moon’ has a mellow folk/psychedelic sound and I’m going to pull on an influence I don’t think has been mentioned, but it reminds me a lot of the early, more folk-y self titled Thin Lizzy album or their ‘Shades of a Blue Orphanage‘ album. The vocals are scarce but the track is so mellow and engaging that they have pretty much, the perfect amount of vocal melody to compliment the instruments, a fantastic open to a record I must say.
‘Last Days’ opens heavier than the first track, with more of a slow/mid-tempo pace that encourages your body to move along with the rhythms. There is also more of a 70’s heavy prog rock sound to this track. The bass and drums lock in tight and simple for the verses and the lead guitar effects are more hypnotic leading up to the chorus where the chord progression is dark, which match the lyrics such as “Death will come, he always does, for reaching everyone of us”.
‘Til’ Dawn‘ has more of a swing rhythm to it and still plays in that folk-rock territory, but their sparing use of fuzz has a great impact on the riffs. The vocals stand out more on this track than any other as the instruments break-away to leave space for vocal melody on the verses. ‘Wolf & Snake’ has a slower groove and is as heavy as the band have gone so far on this record; the verses are a slow to mid-tempo until the time change and chorus riff kicks in – the band ups the tempo and it goes to proper Stoner Rock territory. Their mastery of time changes is apparent on this song as they slow things down again for the end of a track for an all-out slow head banging section.
‘Silver & Gold’ plays out more like an interlude than an actual song, but this takes nothing away from the gorgeous melodies and harmonies created in the song. ‘Them Calling’ ups the ante immediately though, with massive vocal hooks and the guitars going dark and heavy again. The fuzz tones on the guitars are so thick and warm you’ll feel like you’re in the embrace of a wooly mammoth.
Album closer ‘Mr. Strange’ feels like the band are having a good time as the track has a real jam feel to it. 70’s hard rock influence is apparent yet again and the vocal delivery is different from any of track on the album, with a few sing-along melodies thrown in I expect this song to go down well live. The influences on this feel a bit more like Cream and some Jethro Tull thrown in, minus the flutes of course.
For my first experience listening to Asteroid, I couldn’t ask for much more. They sound different to any of the bands in my current cycle of music yet familiar enough to the genre that I’m already pre-disposed to like it, which makes me biased. But that takes nothing away from the excellent musicianship on this album and you can be sure I’ll be checking out Asteroid’s back-catalogue after I hit that last full stop.
For Fans Of: Thin Lizzy, Cream, Jethro Tull