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Even though they’ve been operating since 2012, self-proclaimed “dream thrashers” Astronoid remained in relative obscurity until the release of their debut full length Air in 2016 as part of Blood Music’s already impressive roster. And their growth in these past three years has been astounding: going from "the unknown" to touring with the likes of progressive stalwarts Between The Buried and Me, Zeal & Ardor, and Ghost Bath. The variance among these names implies an adventurous sonic identity that should instill a sense of curiosity as to what exactly these dream-surfing Bostonians have to offer.

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Astronoid's latest effort, their self-titled sophomore full-length (out this Friday), maintains the ambition of the band's debut with a focus now on intent rather than attack. The more aggressive passages of Air still form the core of Astronoid: with the black metal-style shredding and unrelenting tempo of "I Dream In Lines" or "Water," this album takes its time building to peaks instead of opting for a sheer vastness to match the brightness of the composition as a whole. While the Circa Survive emo vocal stylings may not gel with everyone, Astronoid's dreamy wistfulness cuts perfectly through the grittier sections to maintain both the dynamic of the record as a whole, but always push the momentum forward.

Melding genres is all the rage, with fewer bands opting to stay in one lane, leading to interesting results that benefit both the listener and the musicians and allow everyone to explore multiple streams of influence in a creative, less alienating way. This trend of exploration and evolution has created exciting prospects for otherwise stagnating genres, leading to fresh and challenging new bands like the aforementioned Zeal & Ardor, and, to some extent, the ever-divisive Deafheaven. With Astronoid, Astronoid has secured their place among these names, but with an inherent grandiosity of exploration that seeks to push the band into yet still uncharted territories.

As far as progression and exploration go, they seem to always encourage naysayers to detract from the goal of moving forward through fear of the unknown. As such, many bands still stumble over the oft-canonized “sophomore slump." Given this latest record, though, Astronoid clearly have more to say while still understanding the foundations of their debut. And Astronoid was constructed in this context to be something dynamic, memorable, and expansive.

Clearly, Astronoid have turned their lush dreamscape into visceral reality.

-- Adam Downing

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Astronoid releases this Friday via Blood Music. The band will be on a United States tour starting February 12 -- dates here.

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