Exclusive Artist Review: Asterous – “Asterous” EP

It’s rare in today’s modern music realm that you find a powerhouse duo quite like Vancouver’s Asterous. Comprised of two highly versatile and multifaceted musicians, this duo has recently put together a debut self-titled EP that is far beyond the industry standard. Their signature sound is heavy, in-your-face, melodic and sensual all at once in a way that is surreal and insatiably crafty; delivering a visceral experience that will have you in awe upon first listen.

With hypnotic female fronted vocals at the helm of the lead melody structures, this duo, with the male component diligently crafting every guitar riff, progression and mind-blowing shreddy leads, Asterous delivers a very innovative, dark, ominous and tranquil record that combines many crucial elements that will easily captivate old school fans of melodic metal but with today’s modern music sensibility. The songs are surreal and dreamlike. Opening track “The Fall” is a perfect example of what their signature style brings to the table. With dreamy female vocal leads and very effective 3rd and 5th harmonies paralleling the melody vocal structure, you get an immediate idea of how the tone is set throughout the record. The tour-de-force guitar leads and layers, which could even draw comparisons to some of the greats like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, are quite anthemic and beyond well executed when it comes to the chord structuring, dynamic progressions and distinctive guitar harmony leads. I admit, I wasn’t even expecting to hear something like this and even had to backtrack on this song to truly intake some of the brilliance that I was hearing throughout the track’s duration.

Another notable track is “Murder The Machine”, a bit more upbeat but still delivers all the tasty riffs and melodies we got to hear in the opening track. The deep male backup vocals bring forth an extra layer of that dark and ominous edge, and is done tastefully enough in a way where it doesn’t distract you from any part of the song. This track also has more solid shred-worthy guitar work with even some solo measures that are perfectly integrated into the song. Another notable part of this track is the anthemic piano interlude towards the end of the song, closing it out with a sense of ambience, atmosphere, and aura as if it’s finishing a chapter. Kinda of like a calm after the storm, bringing it all to a conclusion that is mysterious, beautiful and fulfilled.

EP closer “Afterthought” is a song with a beautiful piano rendition and chorus-integrated vocals that really showcase the authenticity between the Asterous duo as both musicians and creators. It’s a short but surreal song with background strings that really closes the book to the many powerful chapters we experienced throughout the EP’s duration and really leaves the listener in awe with just how versatile, climactic and wholesome this EP. This song is the soothing back rub after waking up from the dream sequences from the prior songs. The whole EP is a surreal experience and this closing track really brings you to a tranquility unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

Asterous is definitely not a band to sleep on by any means. The EP has a plethora of innovation, natural talent, musicianship, artistic merit, and moods that will lift you up lighter than air due to its tranquility and nostalgic presence. Who knows what they will come up with next, but if it’s destined to be better than this EP, then my undivided attention is very ready for it. You can get your copy of the EP on Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. I promise you’ll thank us later.


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Exclusive Artist Review: Grafting The Vine – “Golden Gate” Album

The passion behind Grafting The Vine’s creative mind comes from a place of past adversity, trauma and a journey of tragedy to triumph. And this album proves that it’s also a place where some of the best art is created. After amassing critical acclaim from the artist’s debut effort, Grafting The Vine comes out swinging from every artistic direction on sophomore album ‘Golden Gate’, an 8-track juggernaut of instrumental anthems comprised of raw energy and emotions encompassing an authentically passionate signature sound.

Utilizing a progressive and heavy stylization that diligently combines crucial elements from several influential Rock eras, Grafting The Vine encapsulates an ambient and atmospheric aura that is effective and visceral – bringing together a dynamically unique sound that stands out from other artists of a similar calibre. Opening track “Otis Burning” serves up a clear and cohesive demonstration of this progressive style and truly introduces a crafty structure that sets the tone for the rest of the album’s duration. The track “Ushauri” is more rhythmic and in-your-face with distinctive low-end guitar progressions with hauntingly ominous leads. This track has a pounding rhythm section with intricately placed drum fills that cruise each measure into a dynamically transitional structure. The multi layered and multifaceted guitar parts are clear, concise and pay precise attention to detail in the overall execution.

“Alpha Romeo” is very symphonic and anthemic, delivering a wholesomely full sound that brings each distinctive measure to the forefront to shine a bright light on the artistic merit of this song. It’s like a deep and dark painting without leaving out any colors, even if there is an absence of brighter ones. Closing track “Dream Collective” ties the album together with a progressive presence that showcases the songwriting structures throughout each track. Overall, this diligently crafted prog-metal record acknowledges the essence of emotional creativity that is made apparent in every song. It emanates with raw passion and balances energy with subtlety in a way that is rarely heard in today’s modern music realm. While ‘Golden Gate’ has an anthemic and futuristic approach, you can still hear several clever elements from many previous Rock eras.

This album is a must-hear for anyone that wants to dive deep into musicianship factors and dynamically executed production value. It just released on May 1st and is available now on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, BandCamp and several other digital music streaming platforms. You’ll be more than glad you gave it a listen – it’ll easily become one of your favorites for 2021.


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Exclusive Artist Review: Anaphora – “Illusion” Album

Lithuanian rockers Anaphora have only been active since 2017, but are making big waves throughout the heavy metal spectrum. Since their formation, the band has put together a very versatile and nostalgic signature sound that is effective in its execution and energetic in its performance value – and is clearly demonstrated in their debut 10-track juggernaut ‘Illusion’.

Fans of the Nu-Metal era will definitely appreciate this band. Combining a diligent breakthrough sound that has the heaviness of Killswitch Engage and the melodic approach of bands like Chevelle, Shinedown and earlier Staind albums, Anaphora puts forth an insatiable dose of energy you’d expect from a metal/metalcore outfit, but enhances their calibre with earth shattering drum grooves and dynamically crafty drop-tuned guitar riffs. Anchor single and opening track “Similarity” is a strong opener with a solid rhythm section and guitar arrangement. This track sets the tone for the rest of the album and delivers up the key ingredients we hear throughout the duration of this record; showcasing rhythmic vocal melodies, transitional breakdowns and atmospheric textures that are structured together by each member’s equal contributions.

“Fade Away” is another anchor track with a clean guitar intro that is effective and viscerally ambient. This song especially brings Anaphora‘s more crucial elements to the forefront and dives a little deeper into the band’s individual and collective musicianship factors; making the listener even more invested into the record as it plays out. However, it’s the hauntingly ominous “Ghost in the Mirror” that comes out swinging with all the right punches. This far-more-aggressive banger heavily delves into the melodic metalcore structure that really turns up the groove elements. The breakdowns in this song are well placed, well paced and solidifies an anthemic edge that is authentic and effective. The acoustic-infused “Shadows” is an atmospheric effort that closes out the album with an aura of content. It’s a song that further proves that Anaphora is not only a talented unit, but a versatile one as well.

‘Illusion’ is a solid debut release that sustains consistency and a truly developed sound. If you are majorly fond of the heavier 90s and 2000s rock eras, then Anaphora will be your new cup of tea (spiked with your favorite liquor). You can get a copy of the album on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and several other digital music streaming platforms.


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