Monday, August 16, 2010

Asteroid: Asteroid II (2010) Review

I should make this clear up front: Asteroid is not a metal band. But, I think they'll appeal to a lot of metal fans on those rare occasions they want something mellower. I picked up their sophomore release Asteroid II which was released earlier this year.

They are a Swedish psychedelic rock band who probably got their name from a Kyuss track. Since I don't really know my Kyuss, I couldn't tell you whether Asteroid sounds like them. To me, this sounds like pre-metal: Jimi Hendrix or the groovier moments of Blue Öyster Cult and Deep Purple. Or, you could see it as a mellow version of The Sword, including a similar vocal style.

The material ranges from the especially slow and psychedelic "River" to the more energetic "Fire" or "Lady". The rhythm instruments groove in a warm, very fuzzy, and laid-back kind of way, while the skillful lead guitar drives everything forward. At times it almost ventures into metal territory, but I never feel cheated out of the aggression like I do with many almost-metal bands; instead it seems more like gravy when that happens.

The whole thing has a very cool kind of vibe, like listening to any good blues or psychedelic rock. As an album it flows very well, culminating in closer "Time", which may be the highlight of the album.

The Verdict: Normally, non-metal doesn't interest me, but this is good stuff. I recommend it to anyone who likes the bands I mentioned above. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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