Astra, like fellow countrymen Clairvoyants, is another Italian band that began as a tribute band. Their forte is Dream Theater. However, don't expect Astra to sound like that venerable progressive metal band. They have definitely developed their own style of progressive metal. From Within, their second full length release and first with Lion Music, begins with a strong foundation of power metal. Upon this is built captivating melodic metal with layers of strong vocal arrangements, riveting guitar work, rich keyboard arrangements, and above all, breathless energy and enthusiasm.
Frankly, I was thrown off by the first track 'Never Say Goodbye,' a moving pure AOR piece which also gives you a foretaste of the amazing voice of Titta Tani. From here, with only a few diversions, you are blessed with powerful and persuasive melodic prog metal. For a dose on the heavier side, 'Over The Hills,' 'Promises You Made,' and 'Simple Mind' deliver stronger riffs wrapped in luxurious vocal arrangements and ambient keyboards. Yet, for me the greatest achievements were two: first, 'Memories Remain' with it's unique vocal stylings and effective tandem guitar and keyboards; and second, 'Hypocrisy' where AOR dovetails with melodic metal to create a magnificent piece of prog rock. Finally, if you're looking for a glimmer of Astra's Dream Theater roots, I believe you'll find it best in the last number, 'The Hitman.'
Kudos to Lion Music for snagging Astra for their roster. 'From Within' is a creative and completely captivating work which will please those who delight in straight up melodic progressive metal. Highly recommended!
Kudos to Lion Music for snagging Astra for their roster. 'From Within' is a creative and completely captivating work which will please those who delight in straight up melodic progressive metal.