Formed a day before Halloween in 2011,Northern Irish bruisers Astralnaut have spent the last year and a half trampling venues underfoot with their monolithic sludge/stoner grooves, off the back of their excellent debut EP Back To The Bog .Relentless gigging and hard graft has resulted in the band scoring a support slot with US stoner titans Red Fang in the summer, an impressive feat for an outfit not even into their second year of existence.Now the quintet have unleashed their sophomore effort, In The Gaze Of Gods ,five sublime tracks of bottom heavy, slo-mo loveliness , just in time for a smoked out, clammy Irish summer. With cans . . .obviously.
A heavier , more rounded offering than Back to the Bog , In The Gaze Of The Gods moves away from the blues infused Southern metal feel of the band's earlier output towards a sludgier, more downbeat sound, and is all the better for it.There's also the spectre of the darker side of grunge's glory days, the band channelling Alice In Chains and Life Of Agony almost as much as they do bands like Crowbar and Down.'Arab Spring' makes like a more belligerent Jerry Cantrell number , while 'The Oath' could be a long forgotten off cut from River Runs Red .The band's ace in the hole is 'vocalnaut'(sic) Thomas Mallion, whose ease in switching from throaty roar to a devilish Staley-esque croon and passionate delivery is at the heart of the band's brutal but infectious sound.Guitarists Pearse Donnelly and Gaz Treanor also put in their shift , merging crushing heaviness with a deft melodic touch , and an ear for an irritatingly catchy hook .EP highlight 'The Hallion' is a prime example, torrents of doomy noise welded to an elephantine groove that simply slays.
.All in all, a fantastic effort, which bodes well for a full length.Those gentlemen from Portland had better watch their backs , is all we're sayin' , cos these hallions are out for the jugular. . .
For fans of : Down, COC, Alice In Chains, Crowbar, Druganaut
Get it here: http://astralnaut.bandcamp.com/