Richard Andersson's Space Odyssey - _The Astral Episode_
(Regain Records, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (5 out of 10)
It's with no great lack of irony that I note the second reference to Spinal Tap to infiltrate one of my reviews in these early stages of 2005 -- but I could not help other than to cringe upon discovering this disc in my mailbox; fearing the sort of sci-fi tinged keyboard wankery that only one's worst nightmares could be made of. As it turns out though, _The Astral Episode_ is the sort of record you're either going to love or hate. Certainly a far cry from the overblown drivel I was expecting, Richard Andersson and his cohorts produce conceptual, synth-led power metal, which may not be as innovative as Regain Records would claim, but does boast the odd interesting moment. The progressive breakdown that interrupts the title track's chorus for a start is a dark, twisted and all-too-brief interlude that might even have suited King Diamond in his formative years. The problem though, is that however many of these noteworthy recesses pop up over the course of the album, _The Astral Episode_ is just too bombastic and self-indulgent to be consistently engaging. That, and it most definitely lacks the gonads to fulfill any kind of craving for the heavy stuff.


(article published 15/3/2005)

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