Ad Astrata

Divergence

01.   Titans I: Awaken
02.   Titans II: Divergence
03.   Rifle Gap: Battle For The Western Slope
04.   Colossus I: Descend
05.   Colossus II: Arise

[Independent]

Ad Astrata are a fairly new band, taking advantage of the recent surge of progressive-influenced metalcore and deathcore where stranded song structure is disregarded and epics are being written and released as EPs. While Ad Astrata aren’t exactly all that progressive in nature, they are in spirit, just as their influences in August Burns Red. The band’s first EP Divergence is a great first step in establishing a name for themselves in the modern metalcore scene.

The band’s instrumental aspects are great, as derivative as they may be at this point. They know what they want to play, and they do it right. While a metalcore band at heart, there are influences of prog, thrash, post-hardcore, and death metal shown throughout the course of Divergence, a 17-minute standalone showcase of the band’s abilities as musicians. Divergence is definitely a melting pot, with “Colossus I” alone crossing into thrash territory, later treading into sung post-hardcore vocals and a section of proggy melodeath riffing which is carried over into “Colossus II”. There are some really catchy riffs on this EP. The guitar work is definitely their strong point.

The vocals on Divergence are decent enough. Unfortunately, the clean vocals don’t have enough polish and clarity in the mix, so their delivery is a bit muffled and lack a certain presence. The harsh screamed vocals work well enough, sounding a bit like Born of Osiris or Veil of Maya and sit well in their environment. All in all, the vocal work is passable, but is the weakest link on the album. That’s not to say the vocal work is bad, though.

The production also seems to be missing something, which might be why the vocals don’t sound as good as they should. The album isn’t raw and dirty sounding, but it isn’t polished either. I can’t put my finger on it, but sonically, Divergence doesn’t sound all that sharp. Guitars are also stereo separated completely at times, with rhythm on the left and leads on the right. This sounds amazing when there’s harmonic riffs being played, but sometimes this feels unbalanced when the left headphone is playing low chords and the right is playing leads higher up on the fretboard.

But that’s all forgivable because musically, this is a damn good listen which is very much enjoyable; Ad Astrata are definitely on par with bands like Darkest Hour and August Burns Red. Hell, they might just be better if they had the same resources available to them. One day they might, though, as they can write some killer tunes and have the great potential.

Ad Astrata – Divergence gets…

3.5/5

– JR

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