Back To The Bog EP

Written by: AP on 30/12/2012 20:31:27

Astralnaut, hailing from the Irish towns of Keady and Ballygawley, only saw the daylight late last year, yet on this debut EP "Back to the Bog" one could be forgiven for thinking they have much more experience than that. The quintet, counting Thomas Mallon on vocals; Gaz Treanor and Pearse Donnelly on lead and rhythm guitar, respectively; Damo Harvest on bass; and Stephen Todd on drums; resides firmly within the stoner/doom rock genre that has been revitalised over the past few years.

The Southern tinged groove of the title track, particularly that of the main riff, bears a striking resemblance to "Step Up (I'm on It)" by Maylene & the Sons of Disaster, albeit without the aid of a banjo, and as anyone who has heard that song can no doubt testify, that is one sweet, irresistible piece of music. As such, rather than let myself be disappointed by what seems to be a rather blatant imitation, I allow myself to rejoice in the fact that another song can achieve that same effect. It is a great song, hindered only by the somewhat lackluster singing of Mr. Mallon - his lack of finesse providing the only hint of inexperience over the course of these four songs. Fortunately Mr. Donnelly's gruff backing vocals do their part in redeeming the negative impression in the following "Behold", an exposé on the band's strong Orange Goblin, Reverend Bizarre and Saint Vitus influences.

It makes me wonder whether the producer simply caught Mallon with a hangover when the title track was recorded, as his singing enters a new dimension in "Behold", showcasing a power and acidic haze that I've always loved about Ed Mundell's contribution to Monster Magnet. The song itself is the consummate highlight of the album, a deeply satisfying journey through muscular riffs, psychedelic jams and gloomy nuances that, to me, signify the very essence of the stoner rock genre. "G.U.P.I", too, has these characteristics, and even crashes into a flat-out blues part halfway, though if Astralnaut had opted instead to remain in this more acidic territory for the entire duration of the song rather than just the half, its impact on the EP as a whole would have been that much greater by virtue of diversity. That, and the fact that its heavier opening minutes sound a little ineffectual in the wake of the brilliance that has just been "Behold".

The bizarre atavism and slow grind of "Live for Nothing" does not flow quite as well with me, though fans of doom metal are likely to suck it in with huge appetite. It is the heaviest song on the album without a question and hints at an entirely different facet to Astralnaut; one that sits uncomfortable out of place beside the warm groove of the remaining three songs. It is not a bad song per se, its purpose on the EP is simply confusing. But even with this slight mishap, "Back to the Bog" is a release that demonstrates enormous potential, and is certain to catapult Astralnaut into more widespread attention in the imminent future.

Download: Back to the Bog, Behold, G.U.P.I.
For the fans of: Monster Magnet, Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Trouble
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.05.2012

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI