Established in 2012, Massachusetts-based at Astronoid built a cult following within a pocket of the prog metal community for their so-called “dream thrash” blending of genres by the time their 2016 full length debut Air rolled out on Blood Music. As the dust settled on the novelty of Astronoid by the time the release window to their sophomore 2019 self-titled LP came to a close, few could argue that Astronoid actually occupy sonic spaces comparable to the likes of Megadeth or Slayer outside of the recurrent use of palm-muted tremolo picked riffs and double bass kicks.
Practically, the group’s sound is more complimentary to the post-black metal and blackgaze popularized by Alcest and Deafheaven, but without the black metal; nostalgic shoegaze and post-hardcore played in a major key, fed through a ton of reverb and Devin Townsend-levels of Wall Of Sound excess on the production. Imagine Circa Survive covering Townsend’s “Kingdom” or Angels & Airwaves doing blastbeats; that’s the blend of introspective yet explosively spacious prog rock that Astronoid have come to consistently deliver. It’s a highly specific sound that is ultimately uniquely theirs from the onset on such a broad album-level basis (individual songs get close, like the climactic chorus for Coheed & Cambria‘s space rock ballad “Here To Mars”, for example), setting them apart on lineups which have included Between the Buried and Me, Tesseract, and Zeal & Ardor, among many others.
For the lack of a better word, Astronoid are simply lovely. Highly melodic, intense, and atmospheric all at once, they’re just a joy to listen to, which makes every new album such a welcomed event within their scene among all the post-, -core, and progressive music surrounding them. Their third LP Radiant Bloom, released on Periphery’s 3DOT Recordings, doesn’t offer any major shakeups to the Astronoid formula, but is another highly satisfying foray into their dreamworld packed with songs that cut to the heart.
At the risk of being dismissive to a band that’s never missed, if you’ve heard one Astronoid song, you’ve heard them all. Their sound is so very specific that they risk painting themselves into a corner, albeit this corner is a cozy nook with sensory lighting, a nice blanket, and a small fan. Of course, there are songs like “Eyes” and “Human” that are clear highlights here that will certainly stand apart well in their discography against hits like “I Dream In Lines” and “A New Color” from their self titled album and “Up and Atom” from 2016’s Air. When Astronoid are at their peak performance, the heart soars and the atmosphere envelops like a warm hug. All is lovely. In fact, there’s a lot of that here on Radiant Bloom, and it sounds phenomenal with mastering from Cult of Luna’s Magnus Lindberg paying respect to the atmosphere this album commands.
Radiant Bloom is round three; another dance. A hug from an old friend, just as you remember them. You’ll be getting what you want. Unless what you want is something different, then this isn’t that. I’m certainly not going to complain, because Astronoid rules. Radiant Bloom offers upbeat, emotive, and glorious dream rock in spades, and Astronoid are sounding better than ever.
Astronoid’s Radiant Bloom is out June 3rd via 3DOT Recordings. Pre-orders are available at this location.