Listen to the latest Astral Visions Mixcloud Show!

perjantai 24. toukokuuta 2019

Karakorum - Fables And Fairytales

Tonzonen Records ‎(TON058)

Fables and Fairytales is the second album by new 70s styled progressive rock band Karakorum from Germany. You can read my review of their 2017 debut over here. For some reason the band is often labeled as krautrock or psych rock, but to me the quintet's sound and music still mostly brings to mind the 70s prog rock bands, but with of course a certain kraut flavour and some psychy elements.

Just like the debut album Beteigeuze, Fables And Fairytales is formed by just three long tracks. The great "Phrygian Youth" starts off the album with cool rhythms and melodies. I like the organ and guitar sound and very 70s hard prog vibe in general. I think I can hear some Jane, some Uriah Heep, Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Eloy etc. in there. A very enjoyable song. The five parts of "Smegmahood" last for over 13 minutes and we dive deep into the epic, weird prog world of the 70s again. This track has more odd time signatures, quirks and imagination than the opener. It might be also harder to digest to to the more sober listeners, but I find it entertaining and also sort of funny. And these guys can play and sing! "Fairytales" take the whole B-side of the vinyl version (limited to 500 copies) at 23 minutes. Here things get even more out of hand and mind... It has a long vocal/piano intro that turns into pure weirdness. Around the five-minute-marker the heavy, slow and sort of Oriental/mystical rocking begins. Later we get also some floating, soft passages and then more of the heavy prog thing and even a purely percussive part etc. Phew! The album has a great sound too so if you are into the early 70s styled weird, hard progressive rock you should definitely check this out. Also available on CD and digital download, all versions released TODAY on the excellent Tonzonen Records!

perjantai 17. toukokuuta 2019

Øresund Space Collective returns to Finland!

Danish/Swedish/etc. improvisational space rock band Øresund Space Collective plays a couple of gigs in Finland again next month. Like last year, they are coupled with Black Moon Circle from Norway. The first gig is on June the 1st at Ääniwalli, Helsinki and this will be a sort of all-nighter with Helsinki-based psych bands Octopus Syng and Jupiter with Dj Astro spinning mind-altering, spacey vinyl!

Here's the Facebook event

Get your tickets in advance. 

On the next day, 2.6.2019,  Øresund Space Collective and Black Moon Circle will play at Vastavirta-klubi in Tampere together with local psych freaks Warp Transmission.

maanantai 13. toukokuuta 2019

Sabbath Assembly - A Letter of Red

Svart Records (SVART194)

Sabbath Assembly is an American occult rock band based in Texas and New York. I've been following their career since the debut album (Restored to One, 2010) and their gig at Roadburn 2013 was one of the highlights for me. Their original idea was to play the hymns of the Process Church of the Final Judgment, an Apocalyptic religious sect from the late 60’s U.S. That's what they did for the first few rather psychedelic albums that I really love. They have gone through several line-up changes including different female singers (Jessica from Jex Thoth being the first one). The music has also changed more into metal (especially on the previous album Rites of Passage) as the band has also written more original material in the spirit of the Process Church of the Final Judgment.

A Letter of Red is their seventh album and a good mix of both heavier hard rock and more atmospheric stuff. The album is opened with "Solve et Coagula", a cool mid-tempo hard rocker. It also has a beautiful, melancholic part where vocalist Jamie Myers shines. "The Serpent Uncoils" is a doomy and dark number that also rocks out. Another killer track! The heavy and somehow oppressive "Worthless" gets more progressive and has some excellent solo guitar work among other things. "Weighing of the Heart" is a lighter, slow and atmospheric piece. Then we have one of the highlights "Ascend and Descend" that is cool progressive heavy metal tune just like the next song "Hymn of the Pearl". The track I really am in love with is the beautiful, acoustic, magical "From the Beginning". Another favourite of mine is the last, long (7:51) and magnificent "A Welcome Below". This is a very emotional, atmospheric, epic and deep ending for this great album. Sabbath Assembly definitely is one of the best bands in the occult rock/metal genre and also fans of progressive metal should check them out. The band is on tour right now and will play three gigs in Finland this week: 16.5. at TVO, Turku, 17.5. at Bar Loose, Helsinki (with Dj Astro!) and 18.5. at Torvi, Lahti. Go and check them out live as well!

sunnuntai 12. toukokuuta 2019

Astral Visions #87 now online

Spend a lazy, hazy Sunday with the psyhedelic sounds of Hibushire, Altin Gün, Dreamtime, Psychic Lemon, Thermate, Brant Bjork, Kaleidobolt, Mordecai Smyth, K-X-P, Man and Robot Society, Uffe Lorenzen, Custard Fux, Sabbath Assembly, Shooting Guns, The Band Whose Name Is a Symbol, Centrum, Jacco Gardner & El Hombre Al Agua.

perjantai 10. toukokuuta 2019

Grave Siesta - Voidward Spin

Final Sunlight Records (FSR001)

I've been aware of this Helsinki, Finland based doom/sludge/heavy metal band since their self-titled debut CD released in 2011. Back in the day they also had some stoner rock vibes, but on this new album those have been pretty much exchanged for death metal influences. Like the previous, self-released album Piss and Vinegar (2015) Voidward Spin is only out on vinyl and digital download, and that's the way to go if you ask me. I got to say I don't really follow the metal scene nowadays, but I can hear some similarities with old doom/death metal bands like Dream Death and Celtic Frost and Triptykon are definitely big heroes for Grave Siesta. The vocals are now mostly pretty raw and screamed which suits the heavy and sort of brutal music just fine. The band also has sense for melody and finer arrangements which is cool.

There are eight tracks on the LP. There are also some more melodic vocals in there like on "Intolerance" that sort of brings to mind Reverend Bizarre, so it's not all pure sludge, death and gore. The longest track "Weakness" is also the most atmospheric and has even clean vocals. After the long, peaceful beginning the heavy boogie starts, of course. There are also some cool guitar solos which I always enjoy. The songs are varied and interesting enough for me to enjoy the album as a whole. The production is also very good, no complaints. All in all, a great mix of doom, sludge, death and heavy metal and if you are a fan of those genres I recommend to check out Voidward Spin. Available from their record label, for example.

sunnuntai 5. toukokuuta 2019

Psychic Lemon - Live at the Smokehouse

Tonzonen Records (TON059)

This is the third LP by UK instrumental psych / space / krautrock luminaries Psychic Lemon. I have tremendously enjoyed their two studio albums (S/T 2016, Frequency.Rhythm.Distortion.Delay 2018, read my review) so I was really excited to hear about a live release. The fact that this ridiculously limited (just 300 copies) gorgeous splatter vinyl sold out on pre-order in 48 hours is a good indicator how well received the band is in the psych rock circles. The album was recorded live at The Smokehouse in August 2018. There are only three guys in the band (Andy Briston - guitar, synth, loops, Andy Hibberd - bass and Martin Law - drums) but that's enough to make a riot.

The album features five long tracks. First they play the energetic B-side of the second studio album: the heavy, ten-minute blast "Interstelar Fuzz Star" is a perfect opener to get the audience wonder what an earth just hit them and "Satori Disko" offers a bit more mystical, hypnotic background for some fuzzy wahwah guitar freak-outs. It turns into "Hey Droog!", another powerful cut from Frequency.Rhythm.Distortion.Delay. The intensity levels get close to Gnod here. You can also hear some The Heads influence which is never a bad thing. Great groove as well! Then it's time for a new track called Jonny "Marvel At The Milky Way". At least it's not on their albums. It's an epic, spacey mind journey that goes on for eleven and a half minutes. Sort of brings to mind some of the more laid-back, long & trippy Vibravoid tracks, excellent! The album is finished with the very Hawkwind-like, fast & pounding space rocker "White Light" and I must be in sonic heaven. Another new piece, apparently, and I love it. Lots of energy. Okay, so no tracks from the debut album, maybe because it was a bit different (more proggy?) stylistically. Listening to this album makes me really want to see Psychic Lemon live but at least I can now enjoy this very cool LP. There's also an eight-page booklet to go with it. The vinyl might be quite hard to get but I guess there will be a reissue sooner or later. But the CD is available at a reasonable price from the band's Bandcamp site or you can of course just go for the digital download if you prefer.

tiistai 30. huhtikuuta 2019

Hotlist April

These are the hottest pieces of vinyl this month (not counting reissues):

3rd Ear Experience With Dr. Space ‎– Ear To Space
Waste Of Space Orchestra ‎– Syntheosis
We Are Wood ‎– Heaven's People
Nik Turner ‎– The Final Frontier
Lamp Of The Universe ‎– Align In The Fourth Dimension
Arc Of Ascent / Zone Six Split    
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Sacred And Inviolable Phase Shift
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO Invisible Eyes And Phantom Cathedral
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO ‎– Hallelujah Mystic Garden Part Two
Earthbound Machine Destined for the Grave