From Within
Style: Progressive Metal
Release date: February 20th 2009

For once the description from the info sheet is very precise: 'best described as a mixture of Symphony X, Vanden Plas, early Dream Theater and Queen crossed with some AOR touches', and that is exactly what Italian band Astra is serving us on their debut album.

The brew is well-known, the formula is proven and the outcome is predicable, but somehow they still manage to be somewhat exciting mostly due to their musical skills. But to really win me over, and to grow they need to stand on their own feet and find an identity of their own...

Their debut album is acceptable but a bit faceless, without being utter crap. The technical level is high and the deliverance and production is fine, so the overall impression is at an acceptable level, but this album will not raise many eyebrows in today's cut-throat fierce competition.

To get respected and noticed you need to bring some kind of originality, a category Astra completely fails in on 'From Within'. They are skilled and talented and the foundation is in place for things to come, and if you can see past the unoriginality you will find a fine album.

01. Over the Hills
02. Promises You Made
03. Memories Remain
04. The Rage Behind
05. Save Another Day
06. Hypocrisy
07. Road To Nowhere
08. Simple Mind
09. The Hitman
10. Never Say Goodbye
Label: Lion Music
Promotion: Zink Music
Distribution: Bonnier/Amigo (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen
Date: February 8th 2009