You've got to give Russian rockers The Grand Astoria credit, because they sure seem to enjoy changing things up with each new release. I would hardly consider these changes to be anything drastic, as they tend not to stray too far from their so called "stoner punk" roots, and yet each time out, they still manage to inject a few new flavors into their eclectic brand of chaotic metal .
The debut, self titled effort was pretty much a 50/50 split of instrumental and vocal tracks, while their sophomore disc II found them branching out and exploring more complex and lengthy, instrumental arrangements. The third time's definitely a charm as album number three, Omnipresence finds the quartet opting for a slightly shorter song format, which in turn brings their straight, ahead, aggressive tendencies more to the forefront than ever.
The ultra-heavy, bluesy riffs supplied by the twin guitar team of Kamille Sharapodinov and Igor Suvorov are so thick, they hang in the air like the acrid smell of pot smoke wafting about the room on the punky "Doomsday Party", the punishing urgency of "Rat Race In Moscow" and the crushing, acid laced closing track "Stonewall". The band veers into distinctly funkier territory on "The Song Of Hope", which features the guest contributions of keyboardist Evan Vorobiev, guitarist Serj Andrewshack and harmonica player Nicky Santoro. Speaking of guest contributors, Vespero's Arkady Fedotov drops by to add some welcomed keyboard textures to the dreamy instrumental "Omniabsence" and deliver some spectacular, spacey sounding synthesizer to the title track, which coincidentally also features the psychedelic, guitar atmospherics supplied by Pete Bingham from Sendelica. The almost thirteen minute, Ray Bradbury influenced "Something Wicked This Way Comes" is another highlight as the dynamic, rhythm section of drummer Nick Kunavin and bassist Farid Azizov get a chance to show off some of their muscular chops, amid the abundance of wah-wah soaked riffs and bluesy solos which are featured prominently throughout.
Omnipresence is proof that The Grand Astoria are really beginning to hit their stride as a tight sounding, full on, rock 'n roll machine. This is explosive sounding stoner metal, that isn't afraid to also dip into elements of punk, blues and psychedelia. Chalk up another winner for The Grand Astoria!
1) Doomsday Party
2) Hungry & Foolish
3) Mania Grandiosa
5) Rat Race In Moscow
6) Something Wicked This Way Comes
7) The Song Of Hope