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Astra: From Within

What do you get when you cross the styles of, say, Dream Theater, Symphony X, and Styx? Well, probably something like Italy's Astra, another hot prog-metal band on the Lion Music roster that is more than worthy of your attention. These guys originally started out as an instrumental band, but have quickly evolved into an all-around force to be reckoned with here with their sophomore release From Within. The band today consists of Titta Tani (vocals), Silvio D'Onorio De Meo (Guitar), Emanuele Casali (keyboards/guitar), Andrea Casali (bass), and Filippo Berlini (drums).

As you make your way through From Within, the band's influences are easily heard, but Astra are able to absorb them and create memorable, melodic prog-metal songs that are fresh and enjoyable. Tani is quite a good vocalist, sounding somewhat like a cross between Russell Allen, Jorne Lande, and James LaBrie, and he really struts his stuff on the muscular "Promises You Made" and the memorable "Memories Remain". The band displays plenty of musical virtuosity throughout these pieces-just listen to the ripping guitar leads and tasty keys on "Over the Hills", the complex interplay on "Save Another Day", or the raging, progressive metal inferno that is "Hypocrisy", complete with some fantastic vocal layerings that recall classic Styx. Speaking of Styx, I dare anyone to not be reminded of the Pieces of Eight or Grand Illusion era of the band on the alluring "Simple Mind", a really fun song with catchy vocal hooks, loads of addicting keyboards, and chunky riffs. The band even cranks out some impressive power metal on the speedy "The Hitman", as drummer Berlini goes into overdrive alongside some crisp riffs and dizzying synths. The closing ballad "Never Say Goodbye" even harnesses the power and beauty of vintage Queen, a real lush number that ends the album on a quieter note.

Pretty varied stuff here, and a CD with plenty of layers that should appeal to many fans, both metal and prog alike.

Track Listing

  1. Over The Hills
  2. Promises you Made
  3. Memories Remain
  4. The Rage Behind
  5. Save Another Day
  6. Hypocrisy
  7. Road to Nowhere
  8. Simple Mind
  9. The Hitman
  10. Never Say Goodbye

Added: July 3rd 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2746
Language: english

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