Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Astral Gardens -'Brian Boru Demo' Review

Here's one for you, and I 'm going to wager you haven't heard it before, 'Celtic Grunge Metal'. This is the label that Limerick outfit Astral Gardens have offered to describe their wonderfully bizarre fusion sound, and while it's not entirely misleading, it doesn't really give a fantastic idea of what to expect from them. After all , while in theory  a jam between Horslips and Alice In Chains might be fun, the reality would most likely be a lot of awkward shuffling, and Jerry Cantrell serenading a packed ceili hall with songs about heroin. Thankfully , Astral Gardens prove to be a much more enticing, and far less riot inducing (although not too much) prospect.

The three songs on offer on this online demo are a diverse bunch to say the least. The title track hints at a pop rock sensibility not a million miles away from The  Wildhearts at their heaviest, with a nice Lizzy-esque lead lick thrown in, and a stomper of a chorus.'The Battle Of Kadesh' meanwhile , with it's clever use of eastern scales and a whopper main riff that 'Gods Of The Earth' era  The Sword could be proud of, is a headbanger's delight, as is the almost seventies glam- stomp of 'Sister Alexandria'.

If there is a criticism to be made  , and it's probably an unfair one seeing as this is a demo,but  the production in places is somewhat weak , with the vocals sounding slightly muffled at times  , and suffering from over compression when it comes to louder portions of the song.However a meaty guitar sound and the band's obvious tightness as a unit shines through, and hints at an extremely promising live band.

With an album's worth of material on the way, and an original , addictive sound to get your ears around, it seems like the band's promise to 'conquer the world by 2014' may not be that unrealistic.

The jam in the ceili hall though, that might not happen so fast.

Rating :7/10
For Fans of : Thin Lizzy, The Sword, The  Wildhearts
Listen here:
Stephen O ' Connor ,  For Born Again Nihilist

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