Astrakhan, hailing from Sweden, have arrived with album number two in the form of “Adrenaline Kiss”. Featuring acclaimed singer Alexander Lycke (known for singing in productions of “Jesus Christ Superstar”,” Hair”, “American Idiot” and “Les Miserables”), and former members of Royal Hunt, Evergrey and Pain Of Salvation, it would be hard not to think that on paper this is a winning combination talent-wise in the progressive rock spectrum.
The band’s bio references similarities in their sound to such legends as Opeth, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and Pink Floyd. While I do hear some smatterings of these influences in the sound, they don’t overrule their own direction, perhaps with the exception of Lycke’s vocals being similar to Ian Gillan.
The album starts off well enough with “Hear Me Know”, featuring a commanding opening with distorted guitars and chunky bass with a nice mid-paced groove. And over the next eight songs on this album, it seems to just kind of repeat the formula featured on the first track with various subtle glimpses of a sound that could be improved on, but instead has taken a safe approach.
Astrakhan is one of those prog rock bands that take a more simplistic direction to their playing. They aren’t overly technical by any stretch of the imagination. And while that can work in certain sounds within the prog style, with this group I find it somewhat plodding and boring in delivery. I’m not left with anything memorable to revisit. This album isn’t bad, it’s just that there is nothing endearing or captivating to me, even after repeated listens. There are lots of capable hands guiding this ship, but the final product doesn’t excite me at all. It just doesn’t click for me.
To me it’s an example that having a great lineup on paper doesn’t always equate a phenomenal or even endearing sound, which has been proven in the past with other notable projects with an experienced players. I fear if a change in sound isn’t entertained for the next album, we may be in for another repeat of this talented but forgettable experience.
01. Hear Me Know
02. Wisdom Of Mass Destruction
03. Silver Dreams
05. Adrenaline Kiss
06. One More Day
07. Ballade De Rhodes
Playing time: 53:27
Release date: 03 June, 2016
Label: Dead End Exit Records
Website: Astrakhan Official Website