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Astra - 'Broken Balance' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/db/78/3f/astra-60-1401496790.jpg Hot

Added by Franco     May 31, 2014    
 
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Yet another band not previously on my radar, they have descended upon my ears with absolute aural ecstasy

Italian Progressive Metallers Astra are staged to release 'Broken Balance', their third album and first since 2006. Yet another band not previously on my radar, they have descended upon my ears with absolute aural ecstasy.

The album offers an entire semester class on the definition of Progressive Melodic Metal. With a band possessing insane technique and their vocalist, Titta Tani blessed with the rasp of Bax Fehling (Bad Habit) and the smooth, operatic range of James LaBrie (Dream Theater); it is no surprise that Astra started their career as a Dream Theater cover band. However, dismissing them as merely a clone would be shortsighted. Astra is very clever with injecting an otherwise standard song form with Progressive tendencies while never making it overly self-indulgent or difficult to follow.

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Although not a concept album per se, the songs offer a common lyrical theme dealing with "change" which further helps ossify the material into a cohesive whole. Heavy without being excessive, unconventional without being overtly Progressive; the album title is something of an oxymoron since Astra balances everything with exquisite detail.

Not surprisingly, I cannot speak more highly of 'Broken Balance' and I am left stunned by the maturity of the songs, memorable choruses, first rate production and virtuosic musicianship. I cannot think of a better way than to spend your hard-earned currency on a discretionary purchase. We are not even through the first quarter of 2014 and my 'Best Of' list is already pretty populated!

Brent Rusche

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Juancurrs said:

...
Unfortunately Titta Tani doesn't sing on this one, as he left after the last album. Shame really as he is definitely a stronger all round vocalist. The bass player Andrea Casali handles vocals on this cut.
 
May 31, 2014
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