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Astra: The Weirding

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.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock, as well as sleevenotes for many major record labels. He lives in North London and happily indulges a passion for AC/DC Chelsea Football Club and Sydney Roosters.