Monday 25 September 2023


Australian sextet Astronomie came into being in 2017 when guitarist Bean and bassist Kenny Slessor decided to combine their love of sci-fi with their love of slow heavy music and then proceeded to recruit musicians who could make that vision. a blending of space rock swirliness and heavy doom sludginess, a reality. The band, which also includes James Webster (vocals); Anna KG (backing vocals); Glen K (lead guitar) and Android (drums & percussion), call what they do "sublime heaviness" a statement Desert Psychlist finds very hard to argue with.

Opening song "The Infinite" begins just how you would hope any heavy album would open, a brief intro and then straight into the main riff, a chugging heavily fuzzed out riff driven by low booming bass and thunderous drum patterns enhanced by occasional searing lead breaks. Now that would already be enough to catch the interest of any discerning fan of heavy music but then Asronomie up the ante by decorating those resulting grooves with vocals that are a mix of mellow, yet strong, lead and powerful harmonies before finishing things off with some Hawkwind-esque swirliness, its a powerful opening statement. We have already mentioned Hawkwind, it is hard not to when discussing space themed rock music, and next track "Galactic Jack" is pure Hawkwind worship from its Nick Turner like vocal delivery right down to its space boogie type dynamics and Michael Moorcock flavoured lyrical content. Things take a darker turn for title track "Interstellar Nomad", the song still retaining an essence of that sonic vibe borrowed from Ladbroke Grove's finest  hippy space rockers but this time twinned with a touch of doomic dankness. We are offered a brief but quaint interlude with "Syzygy" then its back to the heavy for "Moondozer", the song boasting a low slow dynamic more akin to stoner doom than it is to space rock. Things get a little sludgy for "War Eternal" the songs dark lyrics telling of "the deaths of a billion young men" is mirrored with dank heavy guitar tones and mournful vocal melodies while final song, "Sea of Thirst" paints a lyrical picture of  a dying universe against a musical backdrop that incorporates everything from crunching doomic riffs to swirling bluesy solos, its vocals delivered in a weird but effective meter that's not quite rapping but not quite singing either, more a melodic shout.

Creating a sound that is both crushing AND spacious is no easy feat but with "Interstellar Nomad" Astronomie have managed to pull off that feat with unerring ease. As debut albums go this one's up there with some of the best.
Check it out ...  

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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