God Is an Astronaut
Epitaph


3.8
excellent

Review

by insomniac15 STAFF
April 28th, 2018 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An ode to a soul that was taken away too early…

At the end of the '00s, God Is an Astronaut had trouble on their sonic path. After the self-titled LP, they wandered around, looking for new ideas, ultimately finding new grounds by adding heavier passages to their music. The Irish post rock group cut their teeth in the atmospheric field, rarely pushing beyond a few chunky riffs. They didn’t need to, since the first three albums excelled without them. As a result, the trio easily became a gateway to post-rock due to the catchy and straightforward structures. This is how I got into this type of music and still hold dearly on to All is Violent, All is Bright, The Beginning of the End & Far from Refuge.

Lately, GIaA focused on more raucous delivery with Helios|Erebus to great response from fans. It was natural for them to expand their horizons in this direction, borrowing some formulas from Russian Circles and Mogwai as well (whose Every Country’s Sun seems inspired by the Irish act). Unfortunately, Epitaph shares a darker background too: Kinsella brothers’ cousin died at only 7 years old. There’s grief poured on these tracks, nevertheless, we also receive the trademark uplifting parts like sunrays protruding in between clouds. The overall tone is set by the title track’s mournful piano, followed by swarming synths, plus a round of slow, sharp riffs. There is a subdued break in which the main theme softly returns, before the instruments start raging again. The next song, ‘Mortal Coil’ shares a rather upbeat rhythm with a catchy bass line. The guitars kick in through several outbursts, especially during the latter half where they create powerful washes of effects-soaked walls of distortion. Grandiose staccato leads soon cover them, until a lovely acoustic guitar accompanied by airy synth pads gorgeously put things to an end. I must admit I wasn’t expecting the band to offer such a blissful coda.

Moreover, ‘Séance Room’ mixes old school, smooth God Is an Astronaut guitar leads, while the bass builds up in the background towards dirtier segments. They get less melodic, still there’s a constant switch between eerie and post metal moments. The keyboards to their best to add to the overall vibe, however, the noisy patterns are the true climax that craft one of the darkest tunes in their catalog so far. As ‘Komorebi’ brings forth a melancholic calmness to Epitaph, the guys venture further into somber territory with ‘Medea’. The moody synths take the forefront here, but what I hoped was to witness another ruthless string intervention. Sadly, it never arrives as the band preferred to let the electronic elements sink in this time. Most of their early songs don’t surpass 4 minutes in length, so, thankfully, the more complex structures displayed lately allow them to carve more complex journeys.

We reach quite fast the closing number, ‘Ois*n’, dedicated to the brothers’ late cousin. I was expecting to be a monster tune, but the group opted not to dig in the darkness that precedes it. Instead, it offers a bittersweet piano melody aided by faint synths, akin to ‘Komorebi’. From this move, I understand we have reached a breaking point where we realize nothing will bring the past back, so it’s better to accept the circumstance and try to move on. Epitaph gradually stripped away the anger and grief, in order to finally find peace. Hammock would be proud of God Is an Astronaut. In the end, this isn’t a perfect record, however, it’s one that showcases the newfound sonic strengths. I believe they can be further exploited by the Irish act. They should challenge themselves to build more intricate songs using these dynamics.




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user ratings (87)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2018


4594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Great album, I dig the darker sound they adopted. I hope they further explore this path.



'Epitaph' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm5gNUYFPs8

'Mortal Coil' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3_5ZEzGens

'Winter Dusk' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNfdWOLuBM8

'Seance Room' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyQR4rJqalQ

'Komorebi' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLPZpx6LS48

'Medea' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buP6I2PqCO0

'Oisin' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flG0kyGfNpc

Digging: Therapy? - Cleave

MO
April 28th 2018


22394 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Epitaph, Seance Room and Medea are all fantastic



solid album

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2018


4594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Seance Room is the best song here, I love it. I was afraid they couldn't keep the momentum Helios/Erebus created, but this is just as good IMO.

Gyromania
April 28th 2018


25798 Comments


Lovely album art

Darius
April 28th 2018


17541 Comments


What's a good start point for these guys?

Darius
April 28th 2018


17541 Comments


Good review of this too.

Mongi123
April 28th 2018


19680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

All Is Violent, All Is Bright man it’s stunning.



And yea the album art is amazing. Unfortunately I wish the production didn’t ruin this :/

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2018


4594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

@Darius - Thanks! All their albums are pretty straightforward. If you want heavier stuff Helios|Erebus and this one. If you want atmospheric post rock All is Violent, All is Bright is their best IMO.



@Mongi - It has the same polished approach, but I believe the guitars sound better on the heavy parts here than they did on Helios.

DarkNoctus
April 29th 2018


10455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

their best album since all is violent, all is bright. so, so good.



i think the production on this is spot on, as well. i wish the drums were slightly higher in the mix but that's it.

Digging: Leech - For Better or For Worse

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2018


4594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Did the drummer take a break from the band before this? The promo material mentioned Lloyd Hanney on drums, as if he rejoined or something.

Pho3nix
April 29th 2018


515 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Biggest disappointment of 2018 so far, just as bland as 'Origins' to me



I expected way more since liked Helios/Erebus a lot

AsleepInTheBack
April 29th 2018


5864 Comments


mm, almost convinced to check this solely because of how pretty that album art is. feel like I should start with their earlier work though

Toondude10
April 29th 2018


13102 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this band hasn't really made a worthwhile album in over 10 years

Digging: Hands Like Houses - -Anon.

onionbubs
April 29th 2018


9433 Comments


dope album art. Everything I’ve heard from this band is so-so but ill give this a listen when I get the chance

Digging: Alkaline Trio - Is This Thing Cursed?

ashcrash9
April 29th 2018


2999 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I admittedly haven't heard All is Violent, but I've peeped their 2010s material through the years and this is the first time I was hooked enough to give one of their albums a full listen. Solid stuff

Mongi123
April 29th 2018


19680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The album art is better than the album itself lol but dude you gotta try Violent/Bright ASAP.

teamster
April 29th 2018


3076 Comments


So u are actually saying this sounds different than the other 5,246 monotonous albums they’ve made? Excellent review and thanks.

Digging: Besra - Anhedonia

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2018


4594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

This is a darker God Is an Astronaut with Russian Circles riffs. Not a life changing experience, just a bit different from what they usually do

BeyondCosby
April 29th 2018


2152 Comments


The word "reek" in the second paragraph insinuates that what they're doing is unpleasant. The word seems a bit off.

Otherwise, well written review.

kevbogz
April 30th 2018


531 Comments


pretty..... pretty good

Digging: Eluvium - Shuffle Drones



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