Astraeus – Solipsis

October 28, 2013 in Reviews by blackwindmetal

Astraeus - SolipsisAstraeus – Solipsis (2013)

Reviewed by Daniel Millard

My tastes have taken a deeper turn into prog territory over the last couple of months, and it is thus that I’ve wound up with a digital copy of Astraeus’ debut EP, Solipsis, in my proverbial hands. Arriving with a joyously messy splash in the instrumental prog djent/groove scene in the past week or so, I don’t know anything well enough to make comparisons, but some of the members of Astraeus hail from previous projects Towers Of Veritas and Timeless Memory.

Musically, Solipsis is a rather minimalistic EP insofar as such music goes. Most songs consist of unison bass and guitar laying their stuttered, synthetic riffs down as a baseline with drumwork, usually glossed with a gracefully clean, effects-laden guitar that, once or twice (as in “External Balance” and “Infinite Singularity”) gives way to a lightly distorted solo. In essence however, the mood and general proceedings are quite redundant (in feel, if not in actual riffage), and certainly make Astraeus’ work of niche appeal, probably even amongst instrumental prog/djent/groove listeners.

That said, I find this to be rather tasteful stuff. In particular, title track “Solipsis” and closer “Infinite Singularity” really begin to jump off of the base riffing into some interesting places, with the latter mixing things up by featuring some great low chain-gunning later in the song, as well as developing more tangible melody. It’s with some frustration that I find the EP’s last moments slipping away from me just as I finally am truly being gripped by it.

However, this means that I’m left hanging for more, and I’m anticipating a future releases wherein the band can more fully realize the potential that builds up seamlessly (the tracks run together effortlessly by design, and this could almost be one long, well-developed song) throughout the duration of Solipsis. As it stands, this EP builds and adds more interest right up to the end. It’s an acquired taste, and it’s a bit two-dimensional early on, but certainly rewarding after multiple listens. Recommended for those looking for some calming but still challenging instrumental prog/djent – this is a cool little EP.

3.5 // 5