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Astralia (Italy) - 2000 - "Connected"
(53 min, "Mellow Records")


*****+

Tracklist:

Connected 4:12 
Dedalo's Torment 7:14
Signals From the Unconscious 6:04
The Conquest 9:10
Genesis Doubt 6:17
Vagrant Thought 5:25
Breaking the Silence 6:41
The Arrival 7:18 

Line-up: Stefano Borga - lead & backing vocals, flute; Dario Andreella - keyboards, trumpet & whistle, backing vocals; Giovanni Binato - electric & acoustic guitars; Riccardo Lorriggiola - bass guitars & stick; Massimo Loriggiola - drums & percussion

Analysis. The debut work by the Italian band Astralia, released through their native's premier Prog-label Mellow Records led by Mauro Moroni, is really one of the best albums in the year of 2000. Attention! Although the Astralia guys themselves announce their music as influenced by Rush, King Crimson and Queensryche, "Connected" represents truly original music you'll not find real analogues to! These wonderful young It-aliens (Astralians!) just follow the laws of the best Progressive Rock traditions and use them really successfully creating their very own music. ItТs not that Astralia's music is too complex (it is moderately complex, though, and you need at least a few listens to comprehend it) and / or overloaded with countless instruments, constantly breaking rhythms or multi-layered passages. Instead the guys take their time to perform quite an atmospheric music with clear, but very fluid structures. No hysterical voices, speedy or bone breaking riffs, no showboating pomposity. Just vocals full of heart and soul with much feel to it, just music that is always charming and mysterious simultaneously. ThatТs why I would call it simply a beautiful Spacey Progressive with a touch of Star Metal (need I explain the latter?). "Connected" has everything to be mentioned among the best progressive works - truly fancy overall sounding, crystal clear keyboards, complex lines of pulsating bass and elaborate guitar solos, slightly abstract vocal themes and surely mind provoking 'futuristic' poetry. So instead of speculating much about the album, load it into your CD-player and absorb it. Today many bands (and progressive are no exception) seem to choose the wrong reasons to play music: greed, prosperity, fame... all this shit (sorry) that has nothing to do with creativity. As I see it, Astralia prefer to be the progressive band in a true meaning of 'our watchword' and "Connected" clearly speaks for the fact.

EK: February 17, 2006


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