ASTRA - Oathkeeper Part 1
Album: Oathkeeper Part 1
Genre: Symphonic / Progressive Death Metal
Release Date: 3 April 2020
How about a musical Viking journey? The new metal duo ASTRA invites you to join them on a trip through a winter landscape steeped in a deep and dark lore - And it’s an great one! Sondre Paulsen and William Strengelsrud are the musicians behind ASTRA. Sondre started the writing process back in 2012, supported by songwriter and producer Kim-Roger Nyeggen, who helped to develop the concept. Along the way, he reunited with childhood friend William to finish the majority of the songwriting and recording together. The result of their eight year long odyssey became a great listening experience.
The journey starts with “Northbound”, an instrumental intro, before “Valkyrian Crusader” kicks in with full power. Rhythm section and keyboards deliver a solid basis, on which the guitars and vocals develop the different songs. I like that mix of raw, polyphonic, and catchy vocals, as well as the powerful heaviness brought in by the guitars in combination with some virtuoso parts.
"Hammerdown" gives a very good impression what to expect from ASTRA:
Another highlight is "Arcane Revelation" for me, which starts slow, in a mystic mood, but grows with every minute. The powerful verse alternates with a catchy chorus, and I like the variation in the song-writing.
There are many epic moments on this album. The concept works, you can see the Northern landscape and Viking hordes in front your inner eye, the music could be used for a film as well. The only song that doesn’t want to fit is “Return to Vinterhelm”, which starts with a nice 80s vibe, but develops very tame. To sum it up: ASTRA’s debut is a very interesting new discovery for me. And as this album is Part 1, I have high hopes that there will be a Part 2 in the foreseeable future.
Sondre Ramstad Paulsen - Guitar
William Strengelsrud - Vocals
2. Valkyrian Crusader
3. Return to Vinterhelm
5. Die Within Time
6. Kalgardian Warfare
7. The Frozen Altar
8. Valkyrian Crusader (Reprise)
9. Arcane Revelation
10. Arctic Vigilance
Oathkeeper Pt.1 - 2020