03 May 2022 - Thorsten
Post-Metal, Alternative Metal | Dunk!Records | Release date: 06 May 2022
Okay, Astodan’s new record Évora is not only a record to easily fall in love with but also an easy record to review. Easy, because it shows Astodan on a level of their own and also makes clear what could have become of one of the greatest nu-metal bands if they had made the right turn a few years after the millennium.
Music comes in goes and goes in alternating waves – that’s the way it has always been and the way it’s always gonna be. So much for the “Phrasenschwein” (the Germans among us know what I mean) – but this band truly shows how this cycle could be broken, because yes, Évora wears its influences on its sleeves and yet, at the same time, it’s building bridges between several of these waves. Between nu-metal and post-metal, between shoegaze and alternative rock. Each of these cornerstones is very different from the other but they have one thing in common – the guitar. And Astodan make simply perfect use of the beloved six-string.
When listening to the way they combine a chunky but never overly-dominating bass, some very variable and shifty drums and then the guitar and vocals to create images of windswept halls, derelict chapels or vibrating machines amidst any of these vasts spaces. The music is energetic and washes away a lot of the negative emotions we carry around with us, in that way it has a cleansing effect.
”Évora”, the title track of the record is one of most impressive pieces even though it is also the shortest by far (one could also argue it’s an intro to the following ”Nothing”), because the songs just breathes atmosphere down one’s neck, slowly creeping on from behind with the simple but highly effective combination of a vast openness drawing up plus some wonderful echoing guitar lines, beautiful female, whispering vocals and a heartbeat-like drum-line. The track seems as if seeping through the walls of the Bones Chapel at Évora in Portugal. This place, constructed in the 17th century by Catholic monks show the love for the macabre by the Baroque period and the idea behind it was to show how easily life fades away. The track seems like a composition under the impression of a visit to the chapel or a walk there, the cover also seems like a version of a shrine there! This just underlines how thoughtful the whole release has been planned out, the band even used some of the poems and verses that are painted on the walls there!
Every track on the record is a standout and a reason to listen to the roots for this kind of music and yes, there are some roots in the post-Around The Fur-era of the Deftones, when the guys from Sacramento started experimenting more with sounds and textures. Unfortunately one might admit that the band has become a bit stagnating and irrelevant for several years (maybe even a decade?). Évora combines the best of the post-rock world with highly addictive melodies and some great riffing which sometimes borders on shoegaze. A mesmerizing release and one that will surely once again show why some of the best scenes is located in the Netherlands and Belgium, with high-quality labels and bands to die for. If the Deftones had been listening to the releases by dunk!records and Consouling Sounds, their music would very likely hold more appeal and relevance! Astodan is surely one of the relevant post-rock bands at the moment and Évora is nothing less than another gem in their discography!