LABEL: PELAGIC RECORDS
WORDS: JO COSGROVE
A good album tells a story for the fans. A great album tells a story for the fans to learn and interpret in their own way. With Astrosaur’s latest record, ‘Obscuroscope’ they’ve highlighted the importance of the sound over the importance of lyrics to tell their tales. A more personal approach to expressing their art, as it doesn’t stay limited to its meaning by its words; it’s free for interpretation by everyone, and adapts to everyone’s thoughts and theories. Taking in scraps from prog and jazz, and blending black metal into their own take on alternative, Astrosaur have made this epic of ups and downs and mountains and rivers. It keeps the listener hooked and the storyline becomes crystal clear in no time.
The band automatically stun with the opening track, ‘Poyekhali’ with an impressive riff and accompanying percussion to steady the rhythm. Being the first single from the record, it becomes evident that this is the true beginning of the journey and should be everyone’s natural starting point. Clocking in at just under seven seconds, it makes an effort to hook fans in and keep them wanting more – a need for adventure or closure, from an intriguing start. Instead of hiding behind a voice, the band are letting their instruments sing for them and it unveils this level of trust and honesty. They don’t need to use words to put their message across – and this becomes a running theme in the record.
“Free for interpretation by everyone, and adapts to everyone’s thoughts and theories”
The emotional tension grows strong by the time ‘White Stone’ comes around. Within the first half, it becomes clear that every track is a “chapter” to the story. A new development. A new climax, hoping for a new resolution. The tempo is fittingly inconsistent, and the lead guitar is what grabs attention and screams for it, and as it ends it grows softer. Gentler. Tamer. The atmosphere and the tone turns around and changes, and now it’s time to see what happens for the final half.
The record ends on ‘Homewards’, which adds a hint of psychedelic rock into the mix. By now, the story is easier to understand: it’s extra-terrestrial. It demands the listener’s perseverance one last time as it runs for over eleven minutes, and they shall feel a sense of wonder and achievement. An album with no vocals and long run times has won them over – and that’s what the world appreciates about art: unexpected reactions.
“A piece of art, a story”
The band bring in their metal elements to highlight drama and conflict within the track, and this is whatever one may believe to be about. The beauty of leaving it up for interpretation. The track dies off in gentle notes and soft cymbal crashes, and the end has come. Silence falls. The journey is over.
What Astrosaur has achieved with this concept is right for the right audience, and if they know their fanbase this well then there’s no stopping them. They’re not working to please anyone except themselves – but yet, they know how to please their diehard fans. They know what they want and they know what the fans want, and they’ve worked hard to bring them both together – and this, ‘Obscuroscope’ was written. A piece of art, a story, and although it’s not everyone’s taste, that makes it much more special.