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Astrosaur Unleashes Playthrough Video for Psychedelic New Single “Karokoram II”

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Of all of heavy music’s myriad combinations, one of the most elusive yet compelling marriages of style lies in the rare crossover between sludge-laden stoner rock and cerebral, virtuosic progressive metal. Though the hazy grooves and old-school stylings of the former are often tediously straightforward, and the mathematical precision and lofty concepts of the latter tend to lack grit and passion, something truly interstellar is achieved when a mutually outstanding combination of the two is reached. In the modern metal arena, few have achieved such an engaging, pulse-pounding mixture of earthy fuzz and cosmic adventure as Norway’s Astrosaur, an outfit pushing their unique combination of sludge, prog, post-metal, and a hint of jazz into uncharted aural territory.

Bridging the two contrasting pillars of their sound with both genres’ love of psychedelic tones and sprawling song structures, this instrumental trio of professional studio musicians is defined by sonic contradictions and mind-boggling mastery of their material. Astrosaur’s founder and main composer Erik Kråkenes has established an impressive reputation in the progressive world playing as a session musician for acts such as Ihsahn and Leprous, but where Norwegian groups such as these typically create ancient, archaic metal that refers to ancient naturalism, pagan subjects, or nightmarish horror, Astrosaur looks instead to the vastness of the universe above, making musical conjectures as to what might lay out there in the unknown.

As their name suggests, the vast expanse of textures explored within their sound travels both backward into the sweltering primeval eons of an Earth long past, and out beyond the stars into an infinite astral future extending far beyond mankind. Standing now at the threshold of the release of their sophomore full-length Obscuroscope, Astrosaur have offered us with a glimpse into nuanced world with the album’s second track “Karokoram II” and its respective playthrough video.

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With Obscuroscope, Astrosaur have taken a decidedly less ambient, improvisational approach to songwriting than on their debut, opting instead for a meticulously laid out odyssey of mammoth riffs and towering electric solos maneuvering across space and through dimensional portals with substantial fluidity. These newfound strategies are readily apparent in “Karakoram II,” an eight-minute slab of static guitars and thunderous percussion that morph and melt like liquid metal as they unfold into gorgeous alternating shapes written in oblique, shapeshifting time signatures. Steeped in the timbres of digitally manipulated effects, the track slides effortlessly between delicate harmonic shapes and pummeling, muscular sludge beatdowns without ever exhausting their riffs or recapitulating earlier ideas.

Combining heavy yet catchy melodies with a hefty and at times devastating riff style, Astrosaur enter a space that is often widely accessible but never unwavering in its idiosyncratic complexity. Though they might be compared with groups such as Mastodon or The Ocean (they are, after all, a new addition to Pelagic Records’ fantastic roster), Astrosaur sprinkle in just enough unprecedented nuance to have achieved their own distinguished identity with only two records in their discography.

Obscuroscope releases September 27th via Pelagic Records.

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