Astral Sleep - Angel (MCD)

doom death, Solitude Productions, Solitude Productions
400.00 Р
Price in points: 600 points
SP. 039-10 xn
In stock
A novel work from Finnish band. EP “Angel” consists of three parts featuring more traditional doom-death metal style compared to their debut album. This makes their composition more monolithic both conception-wise and music-wise. Nevertheless, the band keeps their gloom and heaviness according to the genre requirements: the exceptional work for true lovers of the doom-death metal.

1 1st Angel 11:43
2 2nd Angel 8:00
3 3rd Angel 11:34

Astral Sleep
Artist Country:
Album Year:
doom death
Jewel Case
Solitude Productions
Cat Num:
SP. 039-10
Release Year:
Country Of Manufacture:
Pitchline Zine

Aquellos quienes son asiduos a Pitchline recordarán tiempo atrás que veníamos hablando de Astral Sleep, una banda proveniente de la fría Finlandia para mostrarnos un Doom/Death Metal bastante peculiar y propio. Su trabajo mencionado por aquel entonces fue Unawakening, y esta vez le toca el turno a su EP lanzado años después en 2010, titulado Angel.

Apostando una vez más por Solitude Productions (y ya van...), Angel se divide en tres partes a modo de temas, y en donde encontraremos ciertas particularidades diferentes a los Astral Sleep que se nos mostraban anteriormente, aunque su sonido distintivo sigue siendo presente. En primer lugar, la fuerte presencia del Death Metal de la vieja escuela. No es de extrañar que a uno le evoque a los grupos de antaño de la escena sueca cuando escucha ciertos ramalazos propios del Death más primigenio cuando escucha la primera parte de Angel.

Pero tranquilos, pues como decía antes la seña de identidad de Astral Sleep sigue siendo presente, aunque este trabajo presente quizás un sonido más “espectral” que su predecesor, de manera que resulte todo más místico, sumergiendo más al oyente en su mundo. Esto es algo que se aprecia sobre todo en las guitarras, y en cierta medida en la voz, como se puede percibir en el segundo trayecto de Angel, donde seguiremos siendo testigos de momentos melódicos y armoniosos en donde las guitarras juegan un papel importante para ello, además de la alternancia de la voz entre las voces graves y rasgadas y los cánticos más relajados y limpios cogidos en cierta parte de las voces que han desfilado por Candlemass.

La presencia de los arreglos melódicos se hacen más patentes en el tercer y último cierre de este EP que hoy nos acontece, y que hace más hincapié en los momentos acústicos que a veces nos brinda la banda. De todos modos, Angel se antoja corto a pesar de la duración de los 3 temas que encierra, además de tener el mismo sonido que el Unawakening con distinta producción (muy poco variable), pero sin la misma fuerza que éste, además de algunas partes que no cuadran del todo (como esas voces agudas enfermizas al final del segundo tema).

Un trabajo en el que Astral Sleep pierde algo de fuelle respecto a su predecesor, pero que mantiene un nivel de estatus más que aceptable, con ciertos momentos bastante elocuentes. Si disfrutaste con Unawakening, posiblemente Angel sacie tus deseos de seguir disfrutando de esta banda.

Author: Soulkiller

Astral Sleep are back with a new Ep and although the material has been recorded in 2008, they sound a bit different than on their last full-length ’The Unawakening’. Let’s say, more serious. The kids have grown up and the pleasure they took in writing absurd lines and awkward melodic twists has mutated into a darker approach everything Doom Death is about: tragedy, despond, emphasis, dark forces rolling like thunder.

The riffs carry more dread, the vocals more aggression, the drumming is more focused. Things are less convoluted and draw along a lot more fluently… The songwriting as a whole has gained a lot of seriousness. I used to place them in some kind of an infamous Holy Trinity of Doom together with Aarni and Umbra Nihil, they are now back on earth, among the living, taking their part of the burden like everybody else: more gloom, more grief in that ’Angel’.

Now, that’s for the music part, because on the other side of that structured face hold by coherent features, you have a more grotesque, conceptual one which still bears all the fucked-up leanings of the Finnish: ‘Angel’ happens to be the song's title of a Gothic band they couldn’t care less about. Though, they were frequently asked if ‘Angel’ was a song of theirs, what got them upset till they got the idea of recording a song they called ‘Angel’, so that they could answer those guys, that yes, they had written that ‘Angel’ song. Secondly, the three songs that compose that ep called ‘Angel’ are called ‘Angel’ as well! And thirdly, the lyrics are three times the same, based on ‘I see Satan all around me’, ‘Every souls like yours will perish in flames’, ‘Satan lives in our heart, God lives but he is weak’! Ok, stop laughing in the back!

This is in fact an interesting exercice, setting the same text in music throws an original light on the artistic work they are displaying: part 1 being more Death-oriented; part 2, more Black; part 3, more atmospheric. A rather intriguing concept!

On ’Angel’, Astral Sleep prove they are a really great band; what was funnily clumsy on ’The Unawakening’ is now totally mastered and their Doom is as serious as they maybe wanted it to be from the start. The 'wind of craziness' has turned into a more gentle breeze; but it feels good!

Author: Bertrand Marchal
The Streets

Finnene hadde et vell av ideer på sitt forrige album og eksperimenteringstrangen så ikke ut til å ha noen ende. Slik er det også med deres nyeste EP, men det merkes at de har blitt bedre på å snekre det hele sammen. Altså har de tatt seg tid til å planlegge strategi for hvor løypa skal gå og ikke bare kastet seg uti det for å se hvor de kom til å ende opp. Det er bare tre låter her, men det er ikke uvanlig at Doom-band tøyer grensene for varigheten til EP-formatet og Astral Sleep er intet unntak i så måte: tre låter, trettien minutter med musikk. Alle sporene bærer tittelen «Angel» og hadde jeg ikke visst bedre ville jeg tippe at det egentlig dreide seg om en halvtimes suite delt opp i tre. Hvert av sporene er faktisk laget av de ulike bandmedlemmene og det er overraskende å høre hvor samstemte de er i låtskrivingen.

De har en særegen tilnærming til både Traditional Doom Metal og Death/Doom, hvor det eklektiske elementet holdes høyt i hevd. Å skulle informere at låtene er snirklete og omfangsrike i sitt innhold virker i så måte som fullstendig unødvendig å informere om. Det er kanskje mindre vågal vokal (knegg) her, men fremførelsen virker sikrere og intonasjonen sitter bedre. Det oppstår aldri øyeblikk hvor man føler seg pinlig berørt på bandets vegne (noe som var tilfellet sist). I skrivende stund pågår det en kamp mellom det å erkjenne musikalske kvaliteter og å stole på magefølelsen sin. For det er utvilsomt mye som funker her og «Angel» er bedre enn «Unawakening» (sist var karakteren preget av snillisme, denne gangen er det heller motsatt. Urettferdig?), men om man stoler på magen blir dommen «fornøyelig, men forglemmelig». Ganske enkelt fordi ting burde feste seg etter åtte runder i spilleren, men etter at den drøye halvtimen er passert sitter jeg igrunn igjen med et spørsmålstegn i trynet.

Author: Rune

Angel is a bittersweet album that could have been a lot better if not for an unusual detractor. Astral Sleep’s music on this record is interesting doom / death that traverses some remarkable passages and keeps things lively with well-applied dynamic shifts in tempo, intensity, and vocal delivery. The guitar tone is crunchy and mean, the drums tidy but with enough punch to make them good, and the vocals, be they harsh or clean, contribute to the music’s overall sound.

It’s certainly not unusual for a metal band’s lyrics to be meaningless, rehashed cliche. Astral Sleep’s is as good an example as any in this case, being utterly generic, insipid lyrics about how you’re an angel, I’m an angel, Satan is out there, god is out there, but Satan is strong and god (no capital) is weak. Also, "she cuts herself to get a contact."

Right, totally superfluous, throwaway stuff. However, these lyrics (which are repeated word for word in all three of the songs here) are brought forth in the sound and performances with such inescapable clarity and focus that their extremely inane nature greatly detracts from the otherwise quality work that Angel is. What a shame.

Author: Roberto Martinelli
Hymnes Funeraires

After listening to these three songs, I have to say that I am remarkably impressed by them laced together. It is quite rare to find a band that lets the songs mold as an unit without slight difficulties. But it’s like they cool together in the same chords, in the same textures. I might’ve been more impressed by a well defined diversity in the sounds, all of them seem similar, somehow, but the whole album expresses the same bundle of feelings. The atmosphere is cadaverous, beautifully funeral, disturbing, yet beautiful, rotten as it is. The desperation, the frustration, the anger are expressed in an incredibly artistic manner. I’ll attempt to describe every track.

Track one.

The track starts with an energic atmosphere, similar to death metal, orgasmic guitar riffs that only manage to intrude into your ears like a cascade of sounds, convincing in their violence. Incredibly catchy and addictive, the textures are amazingly rough. I can personally associate this with a Heaven Shall Burn passage. It rushes so neatly. As the sound cools forward, a brutal scream only amplifies the unit, but only to mellow out sooner or later with vocals that seem so priest-like and choral, almost sacred in their vibration. The doomish atmosphere starts heightening its contrast, the sounds pour slowly, a simple guitar solo, maddening as it takes over, resonating, vibrating with a slight echo. The feelings change into a similar black metal chaotic mix. It settles with more brutal vocals, terrifying. Yet, in this whole paradox, the following textures sound almost medieval, viking, folk elements present, only to mold into the same outburst of brutality. The harmony is amazing. I can only picture a fortress, humid, dark and frightening. The repetitive, deadly.. or should I say deathly part appears again. The sounds become black metal-ish soon enough, technical, almost similar to …And Oceans, the textures are dirty, groovy, heavy. They drip into a slow rain-like passage, relaxing in its simplicity.. Like the fall of an angel, like a drop of reluctance.. Repetitive, yet convincing, similar to Shape of Despair. Funeral, entirely absorbing, drums beating in announcements, I’d say. The melody isn’t fragmented. The silent, yet completely overwhelming passages mingle with the Darkthrone-like ones.. Hatred is spilling into mellow voices, a melody cooling slower until it echoes out in a quiet end.

Track two.

The second song starts with a vibrating motion, sounds similar to the rattling gurgles of a snake suppurating through emptiness, to a cathedral, to a sacred, yet freaky atmosphere. The silence is massively suggestive.. Then a texture similar to a footstep slams in.. To guide us towards the guitars creeping out a lively sound that keeps increasing in intensity throughout the song.. Hauling into the listener’s veins directly. A deep low growl appears into the sound, the doom metal vocals that never relent pouring their sadness, intense and amazing. They’re convincing even if they’re mediocre, they mold into a scream, as if the ugly has been manipulated into a form of art. The textures are dirty. The rhythm is sad and the drum beats feel as if they’re crying with every harsh pump. Then again, higher tones of vocals protrude, a Finnish accent noticeable in the intonation. It fits perfectly. A sweet moment of silence with acoustic chords settles in. The moments interlace. Calm and unique sounds, yet filled with frustration. Quiet, slow, beautiful. The song takes a sudden turn, a beautiful contrast that draws you in. A voice is rising.. Melodic, macabre, hidden growls melt into the background. The atmosphere shapes like a castle, with angelic voices creeping into nothingness, followed by demonic screams, all of it in a plash of desperation, like a crowd of people that melts into void.

Track three.

Beautiful from the first chords. Calm and similar to an orchestra, silenced out by pinches of chords. The sound is culminating. The guitar sounds traditional, melting into an almost Brasilian perfection. It reminds me of a forest. The darkness shows up, covering the entirety of images. A rough passage bursts, only to disperse in pure, acoustic guitar and a saddened voice, a hymn of despair. But it’s melancholic, like a man with a withered life, gagging with tears and gulps of alcohol, it’s how it resonates in my ears. The silence that follows is beautiful, suggestic religious doubt. Whispers, contrabass getting the shape of a delicious agony, amplified in a menacing passage, screamed out in anger. It calms down like ancient columns, with spitted attempts of vocals, as if the vocal chords are forcing sounds out.. The guitars sing high sounds. A lounge-like silence finds its way in the song, it takes another beautiful, impressive turn. Acoustic sounds, angelic vibrations, whispers, rushed black metal.. Depressive. A marvelous fullness. Also, it gets the form of something somewhat similar to Amesoeurs, post-rock shades, without the vocals. The vocals are angry and dark. The drums become fast.. And faster.. Only to switch to the same calm, to choir-like vocals, simple guitar chords.. And then, silence.

Monotonous, but beautiful.

Author: Zamo
Diabolical Conquest

The only time I had heard Astral Sleep prior to this EP was their one track contribution to the Thergothon tribute album, a cover of the track ‘Yet the Watchers Guard'. While the original song is god-tier (come on, it's Thergothon), Astral Sleep really gave off the vibe of being a dud band contributing a dud cover to a tribute album half full of shitty bands (of course there were some good tracks too, such as Worship's contribution). Regardless, Astral Sleep didn't leave any good impression on me, so I approached Angel with zero expectations. Guess you could call it a lucky break. Astral Sleep is a band that doesn't really know what it wants to sound like. I haven't heard any of their other original material, which includes a full length, but judging simply from this EP, Astral Sleep has the tiniest shreds of promise which they smother in stylistic indecisiveness and very poor musical cohesion. The EP follows some sort of theme regarding angels, Satan and evilness, but the lyrics are so awful that there is no way anybody could possibly take the concept seriously (apparently the EP is made up of three different versions of the same song, but it doesn't really make a difference).

The first track is the only tolerable composition on the album – it has moments that appear to imitate Turn Loose the Swans-era My Dying Bride and then other sections which sound exactly like Insomnium's first album, both of which are then broken up with lacklustre death metal segments which sound like Ataraxie pre-Slow Transcending Agony. Nonetheless, as mediocre as it becomes, the first track is not so bad and Astral Sleep manage to find some cohesion. The rest of the EP, however, is not so easily discernable. Perhaps the best way of describing what it sounds like can be summed up in a lyric from the second track – ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT?'. Ignoring the fact that this is a ridiculous line itself, it perfectly encapsulates Astral Sleep's muddle of ideas and lacklustre cohesiveness. To be perfectly honest, I would have never guessed that these were the same song played in three different ways had I not looked it up (I guess the lyrics being the same gave it away too), but this little titbit of knowledge really made no difference to my enjoyment of the EP. In fact I probably like it less.

There's one conclusion that I've drawn from reviewing Angel and that is that Astral Sleep are a disappointment to their Finnish heritage. If this marks the future of Finnish death/doom, then we might as well just kill ourselves in the most mediocre ways possible.

Author: Erkay Berkan
Burning Black

Astral Sleep is a Finnish quintet formed in 2004, since the same year of its formation; the band has unleashed four works, including a demo, a full length album and two EPs, being “Angel” EP, released in September 2010, the last one of these offerings. The band gained a lot of attention with its first album entitled “Unawakening”, released in 2008 under Solitude Productions; its powerful blend of traditional Doom Metal with obscure Death Metal overtones took the Doom Metal scene by surprise, lately Astral Sleep also contributed with the track “Yet The Watchers Guard” for “Rising Of Yog-Sothoth - Tribute To Thergothon” obtaining even more consideration within the international Doom Metal scene… “Angel” consists in three tracks; all entitled “Angel” as the EP’s title and each one of these songs has the exact same lyrics, but despite of how unoriginal or monotone this may sound, musically this work has the most extraordinary variety I’ve heard in a Doom Metal opus in quite a while. The opening track is a crude piece of Death/Doom Metal with hellish growls and deep clean voices, a sort of mix between early Amorphis and Tristitia, the structure of this track ranges from blasting up-tempo Death Metal passages to mid-to-slow traditional Doom Metal parts, all these ornate by a magnificent, obscure and beautiful sense of melody. The second “Angel”, is a more Doom Metal oriented piece, obscure and subtle almost Gothic at some passages, but also including a malignant and omnipresent Black Metal vibe that fill this composition during the eight minutes this track lasts, the ripping voice of Markus Heinonen is once again a highlight, his wide range of obscure tones are just perfect for the whole eclectic music this EP contains. The closing track is a more Funeral Doom Metal oriented composition, atmospheric and subtle at moments, with its intense passages of semi-acoustic minimalist interludes this composition is probably the most disturbing and hypnotic sounding of the whole EP. The whole atmospheres of mystery and obscurity of this track are suddenly broke at the final couple of minutes by a powerful up-tempo melodic Doom/Death Metal interlude, creating a powerful end not only for this track but for the entire EP. “Angel” is one hell of a work; this EP has all the elements of an excellent Doom Metal opus: variety, power, obscurity and originality… what else can you ask for? If you like any form of Doom Metal, you better run for your copy of “Angel”, this work is a MUST.

Author: AP
Doom Metal Front

„Thank you and fuck you for getting this album!“ Mit diesen frostigen Worten begrüßen ASTRAL SLEEP den Besitzer ihrer Mini-CD „Angel“ im winterlichen Booklet. Gerechtfertigt wird der warmherzigen Eröffnungssatz in den nachstehenden Zeilen, in denen die Finnen endgültig klar stellen, dass der Song „Angel“ einer anderen Band mit dem Namen ASTRAL SLEEP zuzuordnen ist. Ob die gemeinte deutsche Gothic-Rock/Darkwave Formation allerdings wirklich als Urheber dieses Stücks gilt, bleibt auch nach detaillierten Internetrecherchen unklar. Ungeachtet dieses, für das Review sekundären Fakts, steht fest, dass die Nordlichter so angepisst über die andauernde Verwechslung sind, dass sie nicht nur ihren aktuellen Silberling, sondern die drei darauf gepressten Titel mit „Angel“ benennen. Außer der Bezeichnung haben die Tracks jedoch nicht im entferntesten eine Ähnlichkeit mit dem „Original“. „Angel“ Nummer 1 weist folglich einen knallharten Death Metal Einstieg auf und lässt während seiner 11:43 minütigen Spielzeit, sowohl im gesanglichen als auch instrumentalen Sektor die Grenzen zwischen traditionellem Doom, chaotischen High Speed Parts und bekannten finnischen Melodic Death Einsprengsel verschwimmen. „Angel“ Nummer 2 gibt sich innerhalb von 8 Minuten mit angenehmen Akustikgitarren, mystischen Keyboardsounds und verstörenden Samples sowie mit wechselnden Death/Clean Vocals, bis zu einem Tempoanzug kurz vor Schluss, insgesamt getragener. „Angel“ Nummer 3 wird von eisigem Wind und sporadischen Tastenanschlägen zu einer funeralistisch fallenden Schneewand geleitet, welche im Weiteren über 11 Minuten langen Verlauf bei bedächtigem, leicht psychodelischem Gesang und minimaler Instrumentalisierung in beinahe dreckig rockende Abschnitte und einen finalen stromlosen Gitarrenausklang rutscht.

Fazit: ASTRAL SLEEP aus Finnland beschreiten mit ihrem „Anti-Werk“ „Angel“ einen individuellen Weg der Frustbewältigung und geben, aufgrund des in allen drei Stücken identischen Textes, dem Begriff Konzeptalbum eine etwas andere Bedeutung.

Author: Slowmas

La Finlande est l’un des pays, voire LE pays le plus représenté dans la scène doom métal. REVEREND BIZARRE, SHAPE OF DESPAIR, SKEPTICISM ou encore SWALLOW THE SUN sont quelques groupes qui me viennent à l’esprit qui sont pour moi des piliers du genre.

Arrive donc ASTRAL SLEEP, groupe formé en 2004, nous offrant comme noté sur le site internet un heavy/death doom lent, teinté de Funeral. Rien que ça !! Ne connaissant le groupe que pour leur participation au Tribute to Thergothon, je suis plutôt curieux de voir ce que le groupe donne au niveau composition.

Les photos choisis pour l’artwork sont très jolies et très pures. Des paysages idylliques ! Seule la photo de groupe me fait quelque peu sourire car vraiment très kitsch !! Est-ce revendiqué par le groupe ? Peut être bien car on retrouve cette sensation à la lecture des paroles.

Je sais que l’album Unawakening sorti en 2008 a fait l’objet d’un accueil mitigé, je me demande ce qu’il en sera pour cet EP. Les premières minutes de l’album sont très loin de ce que je m’attendais d’un groupe de doom. De la double pédale, un tempo rapide, une voix claire qui tient la route, effectivement, le heavy métal fait partie des influences d’ASTRAL SLEEP. Je vais tout de même vite me retrouver dans des territoires plus familiers avec de nombreux passages atmosphériques, une voix teintée death, voire funeral. Et pourtant, c’est bien la voix claire que je trouve la plus intéressante. Très plaintive, elle a un gros impact sur la musique du groupe.

La spécialité du groupe est le changement d’ambiance et de tempo. Souvent bien pensés, ces changements sont tout de même déroutants et parfois complètement déstabilisants. Passer de gros riffs de guitares à un silence de mort sans transition, avouez que cela peut choquer. On s’attend à tout, du meilleur au pire.

Jusqu’à Angel (troisième du nom), ASTRAL SLEEP cherchera à nous surprendre, avec des ambiances proches de la froideur du black/doom mais aussi des passages pesants du doom métal. Des contrées assez éloignées que le groupe cherche à exploiter au maximum.

Il est clair que dans cet EP, on ne peut pas reprocher au groupe un manque d’originalité, une prise de risque, une musique sans filet et ce, pendant plus de 30 minutes. Cependant, l’enchaînement de toutes ces ambiances peut être frustrant. En effet, on voit défiler les contrées sans pouvoir profiter des paysages. Un peu comme une série de photos de panoramas que l’on aurait prises d’avion sans s’être posé pour mieux apprécier les régions.

Je reste donc mitigé sur cet EP, je pense que si l’on ne connaît pas le groupe, c’est une très bonne occasion de découvrir une musique originale et surprenante. Mais c’est frustrant de ne pas apprécier toutes les possibilités d’ASTRAL SLEEP puisque leur talent est passé en revue sans être approfondi.

Author: dark.pimousse
Antichrist zine 11/2011

Oh shit, when I start listen to this CD first time I was a bit confusedJ. First track’ started with pure death metal massacre, he-he, just a little time but I thought there’s not AS’ CD… But then all become right. So, this is next offer from this Finnish doom metal band. Here are just three songs, but they are pretty long, and luckily – listenable. Doom metal crossing with death metal massiveness and various types of vocals, as well as pretty enough of tempo-changes and mood changes. This album is wrapped in real obscurity and without any compromises sounds pretty hard. The music is made in various tempos, but mainly in slow and mid, and this is typical thing, isn’t it? Disharmonic parts and some hysterical moods bring much deep and pressing feeling. Actually “Angel” sounds pretty devilish and with some cosmic atmosphere during these long songs of… of… can’t find right words… let’s say – songs of madness, he-he. And third song made in really down tempo way, that’s not funeral doom even, but just some fucking sloooow and a little boring songJ, which become much interesting when heavy guitars and solos fighting! All in all, this album is made in deep, pressing and depressive way, with all important tunes and moods. And main thing – “Angel” is a very different album of their last work!
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