God Is An Astronaut – Helios/Erebus – Review
Wicklow natives God Is An Astronaut are undeniably one of Ireland’s most formidable ambassadors of the post/noise rock scene at the moment. They’ve been around the block plenty, and now seven studio albums in, they have created what is quite possibly their magnum opus.
The eerie and spacey ‘Agneya’ opens the album and really sets the tone for the rest of the LP. It’s melancholic and dreary, yet quite beautiful too. A now metal sounding rhythm section compliments and contrasts to the jangling guitars before a thunderous coda kicks in. A strong way to start the album for sure. ‘Pig Powder’ continues with the metal vibe, with chugging rhythm guitars and pinch harmonics marking a change in tone. The more prominent metal sound is probably the most notable change to form for GIAA, yet it seems to work entirely in their favour.
The more contemporary sound of ‘Vetus Memoria’ is a haunting tune, with sections in odd time signatures and the classic ambient tone mixing in flawlessly. While this change will appear to those in favour of metal music, the ambient side that the band have possibly neglected over the past few albums is strong here too. The orchestral beauty of ‘Finem Solis’ resonates to the max, and the shoegaze sounding ‘Obscura Somnia’ is a welcome break from the harshness of other tracks. Chugging riffs are replaced with gorgeously atmospheric and dreamy synthesised sounds with layered acoustic guitars.
Now coming to the end of the album, the dark and menacing ‘Centralia’ has an ominous feel about it. The harmonies are pretty and well constructed, yet there’s a feeling of impending doom thats embodied by a killer drop tuned guitar halfway through. It’s nasty and fuzzy and it’s hard to beat at this point.
GIAA have surely offered something rather unexpected. Not many post rock bands venture this far into the metal world, a bold move without a doubt. Not content with doing anything less than pushing boundaries, the lads have seemingly found a brand new sound for themselves. This done all the while retaining what we love about them and even producing their best work in some time.
God Is An Astronaut play Whelan’s, Dublin on 21 May.