ASTRAKHAN - A Slow Ride Towards Death
Album: A Slow Ride Towards Death
Genre: Heavy Progrock
Release Date: April 23rd, 2021
Label: Melodic Passion Records
Do you know that incredible feeling, when music picks you up just at the right moment? In case of ASTRAKHAN, it hit me totally unexpected when I came across their album "A Slow Ride Towards Death" a few days ago, but something resonated so strong with me that I just fell into the sound, and got caught in an amazing way. After a bit of research, I had learned that this is the third studio album of the Swedish progband, released on April 23rd, 2021. While their debut “Retrospective” (2013) had a kind of positive 70s prog vibe, a certain melancholy joined their music with the second album “Adrenaline Kiss” (2016). The new record “A Slow Ride Towards Death” still sounds like ASTRAKHAN, but darker, and this change can already be noticed in the title and cover artwork. The lyrics mainly deal with loss and inner struggles, but also give glimpses of hope.
“Lonesome Cry” opens the album in an intense way: the distorted guitar sound and slightly delayed rhythmic create a dark soundscape, while the bass comes up with a full, warm tone, and so does the vocal performance of singer Alexander Lycke. I have to admit I hadn’t heard of him before, but he caught me from the beginning with his wide range and strong expression. The following “Take me with you” lifts up tempo and first uses harmonies that remind of Queen's “Innuendo”, then develops its own character with modern rhythms and strong vocal parts.
Next up is “What You Resist Will Remain”, one of my favorites because of its great groove and dynamic. “Never Let You Go” starts heavy, then slows things down (a bit too much maybe) and leads us to the mesmerizing “Youtopia”, which gets me every time with its special beauty. Over the last songs, they change mood and tempo: “Until it Ends” feels like a turning point before regaining “Control”, musically presented with interesting twists and turns. The great finale comes with “M.E 2020”, taking the listener on another musical and emotional ride.
With “A Slow Ride Towards Death”, ASTRAKHAN have created an amazing, modern prog album. The well-balanced production supports the listening experience perfectly, so does the various song-writing. All musicians work as a unit to evolve the tracks, but also have enough space for great solo parts, that always blend into the musical flow. The rhythmic is varied, changes in mood and tempo help to keep the tension most of the time. Singer Alexander Lycke delivers an impressive performance by giving each song the right expression. I didn’t see this album coming, but I’m glad it found its way to my ears and into my proggy heart. Recommended to dive in, if you haven't done yet.
Alexander Lycke - Vocals
Per Schelander - Bass & Vocals
Johan Hallgren - Guitar & Vocals
Martin Larsson – Drums
1. Lonesome Cry
2. Take Me With You
3. What You Resist Will Remain
4. Never Let You Go
6. Until It Ends
8. M.E 2020
Retrospective – 2013
Adrenaline Kiss – 2016
Astrakhan‘s Superstar Experience (live) – 2020
A Slow Ride Towards Death - 2021