Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
From the confines of the universal center point of Formula Racing, Indianapolis, IN., comes the exploratory space rock project Astral Mass. The band, which consists of members with resumes that include Apostle Of Solitude, Dead Limb, The Heavy Company, Sleepbringer, Giraffes Eating Lions, etc., just recently issued their self-titled full-length debut.
The 7-song offering is the follow-up to 2016’s very well-received ‘All Systems Go’ EP. Now, like then, this effort finds the band intertwining heavy doom, stoner rock, and metal with a psychedelic twist. That sonic construct is just as intriguing on (figurative) tape as it sounds seeing it in printed text here I assure you too.
While the blood-pumping, beating heart of the band is guitarist and vocalist Jeff Kaleth, drummer Nicolae Ciobotaru, and bassist/ vocalist Mike Naish, several other notables had helping hands in making things happen. On their newest recording, we find Astral Mass streaking across the cosmos under the force of their own propulsion.
Songs powered by planetoid-sized riffs use that inertia to escape gravitational velocity and once free of it, are untethered to roam. Roam they do too as chunky numbers like “Cosmic String“, “Clear The Tower“, and “Jovian Winds” are pure rocket fuel for amplifiers.
Then there are the plane-jumping transmissions into numbers with otherworldly psychedelic elements. Be they ever so slight, as in the opening song “Matter Smasher“, or ramped up into the red like on “Desert Planet Ritual“, their contrasting with the denser doom padding beneath them is powerful. Also worth mentioning is the fact that both of these particular tracks feature the presence of Bob Balch (Fu Manchu, Sun & Sail Club).
So, if you appreciate the space-based programs that first pioneered psychedelic rock along with the audionauts that delved headlong into doom-channeling then, by all means, you should check this out. I believe you will find a pleasing modulation of frequencies to embrace and further phase into. That said, suit up now, step into the Bandcamp-based transporter below (or here), and dematerialize into Astral Mass.