Astral Tomb, Soulgazer (Blood Harvest 2022)

The first full-length album from Astral Tomb hits the streets this week, Soulgazer.

Formed in Denver, Colorado just a couple of years ago, Astral Tomb have released a demo, a split, and an EP leading up to their current full-length record, Soulgazer. Their music is a celestial (meaning astronomical) brand of death metal, taken to a higher level on the new album. Of course, you might have guessed that from the name of the band. The musicians are Adrian McClair (guitar), Michael Schrock (guitar and vocals), and Zach Johnson (drums).

The album starts big with the thirteen-minute supernova that is “Transcendental Visions.” Given this much room to work, you have to expect some exploration. The band has said that the album “is a narrative of inner awakening. It is the product of over a year of arduous personal journeys, and collective experience.” This one track, which accounts for about one third the music in the entire set, covers the described ground with trippy aplomb. The death metal is heavy and solid, making the well-oiled alternations and additions ideally infectious. There is certainly an otherworldly feeling in this music, but it turns out to be only a prelude to the weirdness that is the very next track, “Be Here Now…” The warbling confusion is a headbender, and then some. I am not sure what to make of it.

“Inertia” brings us back to more earthly death metal of the ravaging, granite crunching variety. Now again, extraterrestrial (or possibly intraterrestrial) weapons are deployed and tip you ass-over-teakettle into a weirdness heretofore only imagined. Listening, my knuckles going white, I began to wonder if escape velocity could be achieved within the limits of my own experience. And then, unbeknownst to me initially, a groovy cool-down ensued that made me wonder what I was so upset about.

“Traversing The Wandering Star” begins darkly, cold as deep space. The destination, however, is the splintering, molten pits of hell. The final track is “Ascending A Pillar Of Light” and it offers no respite – it is as big and wicked and strange as the rest. I don’t know what I expected from this album, but I heard something I could never have anticipated. This one is wild. Hearing it left me with elevated medical readings. Recommended.

Soulgazer drops on Friday, March 25th through Blood Harvest Records in digital, CD, vinyl, and cassette – the vinyl coming a little later because of the continuing pressing issues.




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© Wayne Edwards. All rights reserved.

Astral Tomb, Soulgazer (Blood Harvest 2022)