Jan 2024 01

Album CoverAphyxion
Album: Ad Astra
Category: Metalcore / Alternative
Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2023-02-10
Author: Colin Andrew MacDougall (VexationsandtheVile)


With Ad Astra being the band’s fourth album, Asphyxion has drifted from its death metal roots and segued into a slightly glossier direction. Nonetheless, the hallmark heaviness has been retained as songs like “Roll the Dice” and “Anomalies” offer djent-like guitar chugs in the vein of Doom or Behemoth, while peppering in electronic textures to add harmonic undercurrents. “Memory Trace” is a more Papa Roach-esque number making use of screams that then cut to a harmonic vocoder chorus, and “Oceans of Time” is, despite the aggression of the overall composition, surprisingly upbeat in a post-punk fashion.

Heavier momentum is attained in songs like “Rover” and “Pathless,” which get grungier and more ballsy – a bit of a throwback to the band’s death metal roots, while still blending in more electronic elements, both instrumentally and vocally. “Heavy Shadows” is the most grueling song on the album with heavy guitar drones, throbbing bass, and a swirling electronic warble in the background of the verses and choruses that evokes the tasteful understatements of Madonna Wayne Gacy meets Meshuggah.

Towards the end of the album, some songs do start to blend together. “Out of Breath” is a slightly more middle of the road number that doesn’t quite stand out from its peers, although it’s certainly not lacking in polish, whereas “Neon Billboards” begins with a more drum-focused lead, but re-enters familiar territory before long. However, the finale to the album, “Not Gonna Make It” is appreciably more deconstructed than anything else up until this point, the electronic elements even more conspicuous in the background.

Overall, Ad Astra is a punchy and thoughtfully crafted album that boasts strong production value and dynamic songwriting. Its split of screams and melodic vocals, and alternation between aggression and harmony in the instrumentation make its appeal diverse and its listenability indisputable – definitely worth a spin.
Track list:

  1. Roll the Dice
  2. Memory Trace
  3. Pathless
  4. Rover
  5. Oceans of Time
  6. Anomalies
  7. Heavy Shadows
  8. Out of Breath
  9. Neon Billboards
  10. Fade to Black
  11. Not Gonna Make It

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