Space Odyssey - The Astral Episode (Regain Records/Candlelight) - Back
Melodic and aggressive is the new disc from Space Odyssey “The Astral Episode.” This is keyboardist Richard Andersson’s project and the second release. Over his expansive recording career he has brushed elbows with Henrik Flyman (Royal Hunt), Goran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen), Roine Stolt (Transatlantic) and also was touring and session musician with Symphony X. Andersson can create quite an atmosphere on this disc and, with the help of the rest of the band, they can get quite a beat going. You can call it what you want, but it’s somewhere near a combination of power and progressive metals. The music is technical in the progressive manner. It should be a surprise to no one that the keyboards are outstanding. The guitar solos trade off with the keys in a superb manor, like many bands with similar traits do. There are power metal style vocals that are pretty much what you would expect. But when he tries, he shows that he can sing with best of them. There is quite a contrast in the music with the mellow atmospheric parts compared to the up-tempo, inferno blazing, leads and solos. The more aggressive stuff appealed to me more, but some of the melodic choruses were nice. Overall they are the most consistent parts mostly because how the music is layered. The guitars are a little raw sometimes, nothing to noticeable. I wouldn’t say that any particular song was outstanding, but there isn’t a bad song on this disc. Now whether you would like this or not would depend on your appreciation of power metal as well as progressive. Their selection of notes might not be perfect all the time, but it is often enough that people into Hammerfall, Royal Hunt, Symphony X, Edguy, Stratovarius and Dream Theater should turn their eyes to this disc…they may find something they like.

Rating: 77