Optimism is not on the agenda for Astral Sleep.
Since 2004 in Finland, the band composed of Markus Heinonen (vocals/guitar, Kausalgia, Night of Suicide, ex-Satan’s Fall), Rolle Heinonen (guitar), Jaakko Oksanen (bass, Reveries End) and Jiri Pyörälä (drums) plays a dark and nuanced Doom Metal, illustrated in 2023 with We Are Already Living In The End of Times, their fourth album, on Saarni Records.
From We Are Already Living in The End of Times, the first track, the band reveals its heavy and dissonant influences, before letting some vocal parts pierce this thick dark veil. Melodic influences get lost in the oppressive ocean, welcoming a few parts of solemn clean vocals to strengthen their heady and ominous sound which calms down before reviving more massive, leading us to Torment in Existence, a more motivating composition. The track keeps haunting patterns, but the Psychedelic Rock roots give it soaring tones and an interesting vocal diversity, going from visceral aggression to some plaintive and harmonious words, before clean sound takes us to Invisible Flesh. Contrast reigns again on this track, letting the chorus’ clean vocals revive before being crushed by the heavy screams to better transform its oppressive rhythmic into a soft lullaby, then into a striking melancholy, followed by The Legacies and its more energetic rhythmic. But once again, the band doesn’t hesitate to inject its soaring tones, its enchanting harmonics and its darkness, letting the rhythmic become more and more suffocating before this surprising final scream, which will mark the track’s end, and the beginning of Time Is, a track knowing how to unveil impressive tones to strengthen the impact of the softest and most intense ones, while offering them very dark tones. The two main influences find a common ground in the heaviest waves, which finally let Status of the Soul, the last composition, slowly weave the mesh of this weighing, intense and often surprising style, while developing original and heady riffs in clean or saturated sound until the last second.
Between heavy oppression and melodic airy tones, Astral Sleep counts us its musical despair. We Are Already Living In The End of Times is obviously pessimistic, but the musician’s intensity remains seizing, and even… announcing.