Tech Death Thursday: Becomes Astral
Becomes Astral are here to preach to you the good word of the giant sky abortion waiting to descend upon us all.
But first, the news:
- If you haven’t yet taken your daily dose of the skronk, Metal Injection is streaming the new Coma Cluster Void EP in full. Thoughts From a Stone is out tomorrow.
- Blindfolded and Led to the Woods have their new album up as well, streaming over at Decibel. This one is a strong year-end contender for me, and I can’t recommend it enough. Modern Adoxography is also out tomorrow.
- The Kennedy Veil released a new song from their upcoming full-length last week, and it’s a pretty big departure from their previous sound. Check out “Godslaughter,” and look for Imperium on October 20th.
There are two things that instantly grab my attention when perusing Bandcamp: albums named after Bloodborne and giant fucking space things on the cover. Becomes Astral seem to have known this somehow, featuring an exuberantly colored giant fucking space thing emerging over the Yarnham cityscape on Paleblood Sky. The combination of source material and imagery led me to expect some kind of trippy dissonant prog death, so I happily clicked ahead.
My expectations were almost immediately defied. “The Glass Lake” is… I don’t want to say happy, exactly, but it’s certainly more melodic and lighthearted than I anticipated. Like the band is having fun or something ridiculous like that. Even at its heaviest moments, the music on Paleblood Sky is very lyrical; the opening track in particular sounds almost like a death metal interpretation of Intervals’ sound. It feels like melody was placed at the forefront of their songwriting, and the technical aspect just came about naturally. Everything from the riffs to the solos to the vocals are laced with hooks, and you’ll quickly find the working their way into your brain.
The second track, “Death Mountain,” is a much faster, thrashy affair. It’s still relatively light in tone, but it marks the start of a darkening trend that carries throughout the album as a whole. As you go further in, the music gets heavier and gloomier. The change is gradual enough that it isn’t jarring, but if you listen to the first song and follow it up with the last song, the difference is night and day. The joy is slowly sapped away, replaced with a heightening sense of grim depression. Not that the band ever goes full-on funeral doom or anything- they retain their energy throughout- but the context makes it feel crushing. It makes sense given the album’s namesake, and they pull it off with enough subtlety that it doesn’t feel forced.
Of course, I wouldn’t be talking about this if they didn’t deliver on the instrumentals too. The interplay between each instrument is one of the band’s greatest strengths; they move in an almost machine-like unison without feeling like any of them are playing redundant parts. Even when the focus is clearly on one instrument, like during one of the myriad blistering guitar solos, the rest of the band isn’t just playing support. The bass and drum grooves have the same level of texture and intricacy as the riffs, and the vocals are varied and convey a surprising amount of emotion- a necessity, given the progression of the album’s tone.
I had never heard of Becomes Astral until very recently, and I’m glad I came across them. They nail both the technical and emotional sides of their music, more so than many bigger, better-known acts. They’ve got a lot going for them, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Paleblood Sky is out now, available at their Bandcamp. Follow Becomes Astral on Facebook as well, and tell them their album gave you eyes inside your head. That’s all for this week, so until next time,
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