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Astra: Broken Balance

Inspired by Dream Theater, Symphony X and Queensryche and certainly not your run of the mill group are the melodic metal progsters Astra who kicked off in 2001. The addition of a vocalist would follow and the albums About Me: Through Life And Beyond and From Within. I was not familiar with Astra's work until recently so I surely have been missing out on some great music. Though I have heard their extremely talented keyboardist Emanuele Casali, as he is also a member of the excellent Italian progressive/power metal group DGM.

You could say that some time has passed since their last release in 2009, and Astra have apparently elected to take a different direction with their third and latest recording Broken Balance. Concentrating less on those technical arrangements and more on the hooks, though there is still plenty of exciting performances on Broken Balance. The energy that exudes from "Losing My Ego" helps to make this lively song so compelling with Astra's most agreeable musicianship and clean vocals, the only detrimental aspect is the cymbal sound in parts though I suspect this has more to do with the download I received, and I didn't really experience this elsewhere on Broken Balance. "Hole in the Silence" has a heavier feel and some darker vocals, where as "Sunrise To Sunset" features more buoyant music and this band does it so well. Astra's style may be evolving but they haven't forgotten their earlier days showing they are still very much a progressive metal group with tracks like "Broken Metal" and one of my album standouts "Understand", as Astra continues to be a potent and technical group. Then there are those spirited power metal touches we find on the excellent track "Ending Season".

I have no reservations in writing that Broken Palace is a fine metal album, though of course this will come as little surprise to anyone who has previously heard the songs of Astra.

Track Listing
1. Losing My Ego
2. Hole in the Silence
3. Sunrise to Sunset
4. Too Late
5. Broken Balance
6. Faithless
7. Mirror of Your Soul
8. Risk and Dare
9. Break Me Down
10. Understand
11. Ending Season
12. You Make Me Better

Added: July 2nd 2014
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
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Language: english

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