Astral Sleep - Angel (MCD)

doom death, Solitude Productions, Solitude Productions
$6.00
Price in points: 600 points
SP. 039-10 xn
In stock
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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.

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

Artist:
Astral Sleep
Artist Country:
Finland
Album Year:
2010
Title:
Angel
Style:
doom death
Format:
CD
Type:
MCD
Package:
Jewel Case
Label:
Solitude Productions
Cat No:
SP. 039-10
Release Year:
2010
Country Of Manufacture:
Russia
Review
Brutalism
4/5
14.09.2010

Astral Sleep is from Finland and present their 30 minute EP called "Angel" containing the Angel trilogy with three songs named Angel. You might expect some angelic music but actually this is doom/death metal and I guess these guys are more into making fun of this theme than making a serious effort to end up in heaven..

Now to the music.. This EP starts with quite some heavy old school death metal before they make the twist into dark doom metal with clean vocals. The guitars and overall sound of the slower parts reminds me of the "Turn Loose The Swans" album from My Dying Bride and the song just as easily turns into another atmosphere with guitar melodies with a folk touch and black metal like screams. It sounds like they want to pay tribute (or make fun of) a lot of familiar sounding bands because every song is build around certain themes and vocals are obviously exaggerated at times.

This complete mixture of styles is pretty well composed into consistent tracks with a lot of variation and the whole angel mockery and singing about "satan is living in our hearts and god is weak" is pretty humoristic. If you like scandinavian metal, old school death metal and classic doom/death metal and don't take this all to seriously you should check this out for sure. Especially the songs "Angel" and "Angel" are pretty cool.

Author: Nydoom
Review
Hymnes Funeraires
8/10
07.09.2010

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
Review
Metal.de
4/10
08.09.2010

Auch wenn der Bandname ASTRAL SLEEP auf das zweite TIAMAT-Album verweisen mag, ist diese alte, von Doom-Elementen durchbrochene Schwedentod-Scheibe nur ein äußerst ungenauer und letztlich fehlleitender Richtwert, um dem Klang der vier Finnen nahe zu kommen. Stattdessen doomte es bei der jungen Truppe schon immer deutlich mehr – so auch auf der neuen EP "Angel".

Den Titel für das bereits im Sommer 2008 aufgenommene Material wählte man übrigens mit einem Augenzwinkern, weil man oft mit einer ebenfalls ASTRAL SLEEP benannten deutschen Gothic-Band verwechselt wurde, die irgendwann einmal ein Stück namens "Angel" aufgenommen hat. Mit dieser ziemlich albernen Aktion schließen die Herren aus der südfinnischen Großstadt Tampere nun sozusagen den Kreis der Verwirrung.
Als wäre das noch nicht genug, sind auch alle drei Stücke auf der halbstündigen EP mit "Angel" betitelt. Die Texte sind dabei mit enorm hohem "Angel"- und "Satan"-Aufkommen und bei durchgängiger Wiederholung ganzer Passagen in den jeweils anderen Stücken so selten dämlich ("Angel, You Worship Satan, But Satan Does Not Need It"), dass man die Ernsthaftigkeit der ganzen Chose in Frage stellen muss.

Ganz so abstoßend wie das Drumherum ist die Melange aus mitunter epischem Doom mit cleanem Gesang und insbesondere bei den beiden ersten Liedern vielen schnellen, dem Death und Black Metal entlehnten Passagen mit Growl-Gesang, nicht. Wären die Gitarren nicht etwas zu dünn und kraftlos, könnte man glauben, hier und da REVEREND BIZARRE zu lauschen, mal ein altes und schwermütiges MY DYING BRIDE-Riff heraus zu hören, sich an das AMORPHIS-Debüt oder eine durchschnittliche Melodic-Black-Metal-Kapelle erinnert fühlen und in mancher Instrumentalsektion gar an PINK FLOYD denken.
Viele nette Versatzstücke also, aber alles wirkt nicht homogen oder im Kontrast reizvoll, sondern etwas sinnlos zusammengeschustert, zu zerfahren, zu unentschlossen. Mit Ausnahme des letzten, von unheilvollem Klagen und Flüstern dominierten Stückes ist er hier kaum wahrnehmbar, der trübe und sich träge dahin windende Fluss, den man beim Hören eines guten Doom/Death-Albums auf einem modrigen Floß einsam befährt.

Solitude Productions sind eigentlich Garant für zumindest leicht überdurchschnittliche Doom-Metal-Veröffentlichungen, aber die vorliegende EP bildet da eine Ausnahme. Unter dem überflüssigen Namens-Quatsch und Texten, die in ihrer Einfältigkeit eigentlich nur Parodie sein können, leidet auch der Eindruck, den die für sich genommen solide und immerhin in Ansätzen Atmosphäre atmende Musik hinterlässt. Das Beste an ASTRAL SLEEPs "Angel" ist letztlich das interessante Bandlogo auf dem Cover.

Author: Christoph.Meul
Review
Hardsounds
8/10
21.10.2010

Dopo due anni di lunga ed interminabile attesa tornano a deliziare le nostre orecchie i finnici Astral Sleep che ci regalano il successore dello strabiliante e fortunatissimo album di debutto 'Unawakening'. Sin dagli esordi tutti si erano resi conto di trovarsi di fronte ad un gruppo che definire convenzionale è un errore macroscopico. Ma ascoltando questo nuovo lavoro chiunque sarà costretto ad ammettere che il noto adagio "genio e sregolatezza" è il termine più adatto a definire la natura degli Astral Sleep. Se nel debutto c'era un'assoluta dominanza dei ritmi doom, in questo nuovo lavoro i nostri, come degli autentici camaleonti, riescono nuovamente a scombinare tutto pescando a piene mani da tutto il genere estremo per dare anima e corpo a questo nuovo ep, un vero e proprio "viaggio allucinante" in un mondo "sconosciuto". Ci troviamo di fronte ad un lavoro diviso, in maniera a dir poco geniale, in tre capitoli che ci offre mezz'ora di ottima musica. Gli amanti del metal estremo melodico troveranno piena soddisfazione ascoltando la prima traccia che, dopo un inizio in pieno stile doom lascia campo aperto a riff melodici e cambi di tempo di alta classe e di sopraffina raffinatezza con delle sferzate di basso che toccano persino i lidi del death. La seconda traccia potrebbe essere, idealmente, dedicata agli amanti delle sonorità "progressive", ma che non disdegnano ascoltare musica suadente ed onirica. Ma la vera ciliegina sulla torta arriva ascoltando il terzo diabolico ed altamente funereo e sulfureo capitolo, un autentico concentrato di riff che potrebbero sicuramente essere utilizzati per delle serie di film horror. Per concludere non resta che consigliare a tutti di ascoltare questo piccolo capolavoro suonato egregiamente e prodotto in maniera a dir poco magistrale per poter toccare con mano tutta la classe e la maestria del combo finnico.

Author: Donato Tripoli
Review
Doommantia
7.5/10
10.10.2010

I have always had a fascination with this band from Finland ever since they released "Unawakening" in 2008, something about them makes them so completely unique within the world of Death/Doom Metal. The concepts behind their songs are always interesting and musically they are incredibly bleak and above all else, heavy! Must be something in Finland we don't know about because this country seems to have a endless supply of original and unique sounding bands. This EP called "Angel" though is great but at first I had a hard time taking it seriously, three songs which are all basically different interpretations of the same theme with lyrics that are so cheesy, Spinal Tap would be proud to use them. I question if they are even taking this seriously and if its just a bit of fun for them or maybe they just had too much time on their hands, whatever the lyrics in the booklet along with the band picture showing the guys dressed in white and looking like a early 80's New Wave band had me confused and worried at first. However after several spins, the magic of this disc is unleashed and its a pulverizing example of how to fuse together Death Metal and Doom Metal into a single stream.

The band used the same set of lyrics for all three versions of "Angel" and the music for each track is written by a different member of the band. The first of the three part trilogy is the most intense musically of the three parts, it crushes you with a succession of pulverizing riffs before it transforms itself into a dark menacing Doom Metal track with hints of strong melodies, like a mix of My Dying Bride, Swallow The Sun and Amorphis. This track covers a lot of ground, musically its great, lyrically though I couldn't help but laugh at lines like "She Cuts Herself To Get A Contact, The Devil Tells Her What To Do" and "Satan Lives In Our Hearts, God Lives But He Is Weak". Its not exactly thought-provoking material but maybe that is the point of it. The inclusion of aggressive parts and Death Metal elements stop this from being too depressive while the Doom elements are kept in small doses, this turns out to be a smart move on there part as it keeps the track interesting for its 11 minutes.

The second part of "Angel" is an transition from the Death/Doom hybrid of the first part into a more tradition Gothic Death/Doom approach. It moves from Black Metal influenced passages to Progressive Doom sections blending symphonic elements with a brooding intensity. The track gently progresses to a jarring ending of shrieking violence. The third part of "Angel" is the most Doom track of the three with atonal doom riffing that is sparsely played compared to the other two tracks, it begins with a Gothic vibe and builds into a Epic-Doom monster. While the track has some crushing riffage, it also seems the be a little bit of a let-down after the previous two parts of "Angel" but it does bring the musical trilogy around in a full circle. After just 30 minutes, the EP is over and it does make you wish it was just that bit longer. This EP is nowhere as atmospheric as the "Unawakening" so in that respect I found it disappointing but what it lacks in atmosphere it makes up for in some fine riffing. The production is gargantuan and the musicianship is great without being overly technical. "Angel" is a album you can't just listen to once and then dismiss it, its a grower of a release that will satisfy you more with each spin, still can't get over those lyrics though
Review
Metal Maniacs
24.11.2010

I’ve been a huge fan of this Finnish death-doom act for a few years now and almost pissed my jeans the other week when I found out that they had this EP out. Consisting of three epic parts, each titled “Angel”, this album comes across as an epic trilogy similar to The Lord of The Rings, where each track takes on a different mood and journey but the theme continues throughout and the final track serves as a feeling of resolution and the first track as the point of conflict.

The opening “Angel” bludgeons you instantaneously with it’s arsenal of drowning drum pounds and anvil weighted riffs into oblivion for the first minute before going into a melodic and harmonious doom cavern of purely blackened and dismal experiences. Here the band shows some a bit more aggression and energy in their delivery with scorching tempos breaking up the slow-mo doom parts and keeping the track sucking into its whirlpool of abysmal damnation and hopelessness. The vocals are broken upon between the death-doom growling vocals, although completely coherent, and incredibly sorrowful and melodic clean vocals that make my spine tremble.

The second incarnation of “Angel” shows a transition from the initial hurricane of desperation and chaos into a more traditional pace of the death-doom style, but in my honest opinion this is more like symphonic blackened doom metal if anything. The tempos may have slowed down a bit more on this track, but those riffs continue to cycle through and hit you hard and fast repetitively like violent waves against a shore after a massive storm (hence the first track). The entire track, and album as whole is this symphonic dark metal trilogy with each of these three tracks serving as one of the three epic novels in the series.

The final piece of the Angel” trilogy is the slowest and shows an almost light at the end of that crevasse or entity that initially overwhelmed your sense and flung you overboard. The first half of the track is almost acoustic in presentation and then we go into an epic doom style, even the vocals sound more epic doom and almost don’t fit with the other two tracks until the last 2 minutes approach and that melodic and sad voice speaks to us once again. At this final point the riffs come in, but are not so heavy this time and are melodic and distorted, more treble than bass tones. At first this track was going to be the one that I didn’t care for, but when listening to the album as a whole or in parts it becomes clear that it does and the sounds and style comes back around full circle to completion.

I’m no closet fan of this style and really enjoy similar acts: Evoken, Esoteric, The Howling void, Ahab, Ophis; but I also have to say that this release stands out as more of it’s own than fitting perfectly into the genre. Their first album, Unawakening, was more atmospheric gloom and more of a dreamlike or surreal experience, but every bit as heavy or maybe more so than this one, so Angel shows a progression that I’m impressed with and am really looking forward to hearing them take direction. You cannot pass up the chance to hear this band, these guys define heavy and there’s every bit of anthem and chaos that one could want or need in their sound.

Author: Janet Willis
Review
Imperiumi
6
12.11.2010

Siitä on lähemmäs viisi vuotta, kun arvostelin tamperelaisyhtye Astral Sleepin ensidemon. Tuolloin bändin esittämässä hidastelussa tuntui olevan kyse osittain tietoisesta rajojen rikkomisesta ja jopa provosoinnista, mutta vuosien varrella Astral Sleep tuntuisi kasvaneen pikkuhiljaa vinosta suoremmaksi. Ei bändi tosin edelleenkään mikään aivan tavanomainen tapaus ole. Siitä kertoo jo kolmen biisin mini-cd Angel, jonka kaikki raidat on nimetty Angeliksi.

Angelin konsepti onkin itse asiassa varsin mielenkiintoinen. Levy tarjoaa kolme varsin erilaista biisiä, joille yhteistä on lähinnä hidas tempo ja sanoitukset. Avausraita sekoittaa varsin komeasti death metalia ja perinteisempää doomia ollen välillä keskitempoista kuolonrytyytystä ja välillä uljasta doomia. Lähes 12-minuuttisessa biisissä ehtii tapahtua paljon, mutta kappale pysyy silti hyvin kasassa. Markus Heinonen osoittaa lisäksi tässä kappaleessa olevansa kyvykäs laulaja. Toinen biisi on suoraan sanottuna sisaruksiaan tylsempi, vaikka puolivälissä kuultavan oudohkon kitarasooloväliosan jälkeen kappale vähän pirteämmäksi taipuukin. Kolmosraita on puolestaan väliosan akustisine kitaroineen ja puhelauluineen vähän kuin doomimpaa Empyriumia, jos paikoin ei olla kaukana normaalista death/doomistakaan. Biisi on ehkä hieman raskasta kuunneltavaa, mutta sen yksittäiset elementit ovat silti varsin kelvollisia. Päätösveisu on levyn kappaleista se, josta olisin ensimmäisenä tunnistanut demon aikaisen Astral Sleepin – jos tämä jollekin sattuu olemaan erityinen meriitti.



Vaikka Angel lankeaa välillä tavanomaisiin ja irrallisiin teemoihin, on levyn hysteerisyydessä (kakkosraita), kokeilevuudessa (kolmosraita) ja jylhyydessä (ykkösraita) silti vetovoimaa, joka nostaa lätyn selvästi plussan puolelle. Astral Sleep tuntuisi aina olleen bändi, joka uskaltaa, mutta nyt se osoittaa olevansa myös bändi, joka osaa.

Author: Antti Korpinen
Review
Headbang
7/10

Tornano a deliziarci i finnici Astral Sleep, nel 2008 avevano rilasciato il primo full-lenght dal titolo Unawakening con risultati eccellenti (per me uno dei migliori album di quell'annata), ed ora è giunto finalmente il turno dell'ep Angel.

Che gli Astral Sleep non fossero un gruppo convenzionale lo si era già capito, ora i nostri continuano a mischiare le carte offrendo un tipo di musica che non lascia mai un punto fermo. Se prima i ritmi doom la facevano da padroni ora possiamo aggiungere svariate altre influenze e moltiplicarle per i tre atti a nome Angel. I finnici prendono per mano l'ascoltatore e lo portano in un mondo "nuovo", stupiscono ed incantano e già da ora possiamo solo scommettere su come affronteranno le prossime release.
Interessante l'idea di realizzare questo ep (mezz'ora di durata poi, non siamo distanti dal considerarlo vero e proprio full), pieno d'idee in tre capitoli che possono anche essere visti come un'unica, lunga canzone.
La prima in scaletta è per chi scrive un piccolo capolavoro di metal estremo melodico. Uno splendido inizio classic doom spiana la strada a cambi di tempo e partiture melodiche di efferata raffinatezza (grande lavoro di basso e momenti che sfiorano il death metal). Infine, se c'è qualche adepto dei Septic Flesh sintonizzato avrà sicuramente di che godere (sentire la lead per credere).
Il sound è perfettamente bilanciato e rende l'ascolto davvero molto molto fluido, i restanti venti minuti passano così troppo velocemente.
La seconda canzone recita un ruolo pacato e dalle tinte "progressive" per un altro colpo riuscito in totale suadenza e oniricità. La terza invece è la più diabolica e funerea, risultato ottenuto non certo con violenza ma proprio con dei versi molto "evil" e lente note horrorifiche, insomma un'altra piccola lezione di classe da parte degli Astral Sleep.

Seguiteli e adorateli per il loro oscuro lavoro, questi ragazzi si meritano la giusta approvazione e sono sicuro che già dalla prossima uscita riusciranno a far circolare il proprio nome per bene come è giusto che sia.

Author: DukeFog
Review
Blastbetat
7/10
29.10.2010

Astral Sleep is een Fins doom metal gezelschap. Zij komen uit Tampere, een stad waar meerdere bands uit de Finse metalscene vandaan komen.
Finland groeit tegenwoordig uit zijn voegen qua metalreleases, en ik ben blij dat daar ook nog doom en black metal tussen zit.
Tijd om Astral Sleep eens te beluisteren.

De plaat begint verrassend met een beukend stuk doom metal. Loodzwaar en gevuld met dubbele bas partijen. De luisteraar krijgt gelijk een mooie opener te verduren. Na deze pakkende intro luidt het album de tragere kant van Astral Sleep in. Dit doen ze zonder problemen, alleen vrij minimalistisch. De cleane vocalen zijn niet toonvast en bevatten slecht Engels.
Astral Sleep brengt een vrij vreemde manier van doom metal. Overlopende passages van traag naar snel. Black metal gezang afgewisseld door cleane vocalen en lage doomgrunts. Technische variaties en simplistisch gespeelde stukken. Niet gek als je weet dat de leden van Astral Sleep in zowel doom als black metal projecten spelen naast hun bezigheden in Astral Sleep.

Het mooie aan deze plaat is dat er met een variabel aantal instrumenten word gewerkt. Zowel de zevensnarige gitaar als de contrabas komen voorbij. Een mooie toevoeging aan de muzikale capaciteiten van Astral Sleep. Deze EP is zeker geen negatieve release geworden. De muziek is prima gecomponeerd alleen voldoet deze nog niet aan alle eisen waar een volwaardige doom metal release aan zou moeten voldoen. Dit puntje van kritiek ligt het hen voornamelijk in de cleane zang en de stukken waarop (te) simplistisch word gespeeld.

Author: Gruis
Review
Diztorted Dimension
27.10.2010

Это не развитие, не какое-либо последовательное изменение, но просто перерождение! Музыка данного EP совершенно не похожа на дебютник группы, что в общем-то, радует, ибо новый материал свеж (хоть и во всём классичен) и выполнен достойно. Открывается диск, более чем, убедительным условно мелодичным Death metal фрагментом на высокой скорости, в красивом миноре, и даже более – апокалиптичном строе. Такие фрагменты и далее присутствуют на диске, и они перемежаются тормознутым Doom metal’ом. В бóльшей мере, это Epic Doom, но встречается и тяжеляк, а стоунер с дебютника тут незримо присутствует. Для таких мест приходит в голову аналогия с Cathedral.

С полиграфией опять «беда». Одна фотка с разворота с невнятным силуэтом современно одетого финского парня на фоне зимней природы совершенно не концептуальна и сделана на скорую руку. Её фрагменты раскиданы на обложку и другие страницы буклета. Аналогично, и фото группы – четверо в белых халатах… Приведён некий текст об ангелах (в понимании этих молодых людей), который также присутствует в песнях. Собственно, весь этот мини альбом «посвящён» ангелам и являет собой 3 песни с одноимённым названием. Лично я не понял логики рассуждения и мировоззрения автора по предмету обсуждения. Смахивает на сугубо личностный поток («кучу-малу») сознания.

Итого, данный релиз чисто музыкально хочется выделить среди множества пустоватых поделок. Основательно, убедительно, не заезженно, но по канонам. Как-то так.

Author: Valentii
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