|Review: Astras - Maze of Time|
|Maze of Time|
Label: Deathtoll Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: November 17, 2009
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
for:Maze of Time
This is the debut album from Italians Astras, and one would have expected that a band from that part of the world would have sounded like Rhapsody. But to my surprise, they play pure Heavy Metal and while they don't reach the level of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, this is an entertaining album. For a debut this is pretty good. Maze of Time is primarily composed of mid tempo songs that rely on a melodic voice and a catchy guitar solo. There is nothing wrong with that, as there are a couple of catchy songs here like: the opener "Guardian of Danger", "Tears from Paradise" and the closer "The Secret of Leadyan".
The band themselves are a bunch of capable, if not very talented musicians. Starting with their singer who, as I said before, has a very melodic voice that gives the songs an identity and he can pull some impressive screams. He is also one of two guitarists and they deliver the goods here, their riffs might be repetitive but their leads are what make the songs stand out, like in "The Incredible Light" and the title track. The rhythm session is equally good, they don't distract you from the music and that is good enough for me.
Maze of Time could have been a great record but the songwriting quality is uneven. That is because some of their songs seem to go on and on, consuming way too much time. Some examples of this are the insufferably long instrumental "Minds" and the boring ballad "Born to Fly". It seems to me that they wanted to prove that they can write intelligent music and in doing so, they failed. For that reason, this isn't an album that you would want or should listen to every day, to me you have to be in the mood to fully appreciate it. Having said that, this is a good album. There is a lot of potential for this band and if they can correct their deficiencies I believe that they can make a great record. But for now I can certainly enjoy this until they grow as songwriters.
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