Review Summary: I see no God up here...
For those who have yet to delve into Yuri Gagarin's work, this is a Swedish instrumental space rock group that quickly managed to assemble a loyal underground following from the moment their self-titled debut was released in 2013. The band's formula isn't very intricate, relying instead on the huge atmosphere the instruments create. Also, repetition is essential in this type of music, as it manages to induce you in a lovely trance, while they work wonders.
Two years later, Yuri Gagarin are back with a sophomore effort, entitled At The Center Of All Infinity
. I had high expectations and I am happy to admit there's improvement on all grounds. Even though the album doesn't stray from its predecessor, it's okay, because at this point it really shouldn't. These guys had to continue working on their chemistry and that's exactly what happened. The sweeping echoes give way to 'The New Order', taking off in a characteristic fashion: the bass and drums get locked in a circular pattern, whereas the guitars start floating around. One usually adds a layer to the rhythm section, while the other drowns you in solos. Moreover, 'Cluster of Minds' brings some heavy riffage into the mix, yet it transcends to some more melodic chords towards the end, setting the mood for the dynamic centerpiece, 'In The Abyss'. Representative for the entire record, this track does a great job switching from powerful jamming to memorable grooves. The synthesizer constantly working in the background creates those really cool, windy sound scapes, that reminisce cold winter nights out in the open where all you can hear and feel is the freezing wind. In this case, it might represent the surroundings our astronaut witnesses during his wanderings (check the gorgeous cover).
The band gives the listener a break with the subdued, effects-soaked interlude, 'I See No God Up Here', only to pave the way for the substantial climax. The title track is arguably the heaviest and most focused cut on the record, yet the one that takes the prize is 'Oblivion'. It's the perfect finale to such a huge, psychedelic journey. The buzzing guitars take the forefront as always, however, the hard hitting riffs are balanced with some epic melodic lines and solos, offering closure to all previous sonic explorations. There's a lot of structured chaos on At The Center Of All Infinity
and Yuri Gagarin are getting better and better at it. This is a straightforward, fun album you can easily enjoy.