REVIEW: Astrakhan – Without New Growth Process Is Bloodshed

Release date: February 1, 2018

Astrakhan’s final LP is a fitting farewell for the band. In true prog metal style, Without New Growth Process Is Bloodshed is best enjoyed as a whole. Over the course of its seven tracks, it delves into recurring themes in such a way that individual tracks lose the effect when heard in isolation.

In the band’s own words:

The general theme of the album is the idea that, from birth, a child is told what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, based on the opinions of the narrow-minded individuals who influence them through their upbringing. This inevitably leads a curious mind to question why things are as they are. This preparational approach to education teaches children to grow up and be like an adult as soon as possible. There is little time to bask in the serene innocence of ignorance.

As we come of age and develop our own opinions and beliefs we struggle with their validity when weighed against the opinions and beliefs that were forced upon us as we grew up. An emotionally turbulent period follows and as that storm passes, and our sight clears, we realize that the irony of it all is that adults spend most of their time trying to regain the innocence and happiness that they forfeited in a mad rush to grow up.

That heady navel-gazing is far from the only thing Astrakhan has to offer on this record, though. Elegant melodies are well-balanced by growling riffs, all handled with skill by the band members. Thanks to excellent production by Jesse Gander of Rain City Recorders, you can really hear each individual contributor.

Without New Growth Process Is Bloodshed really epitomises Astrakhan’s style, which the band has developed over the course of two LPs and three EPs. In many ways, that makes it a shame Astrakhan is disbanding, but at the same time, it also makes it the ideal time to do so.

The album’s release show, on February 10 at the Astoria, will also be the band’s last show so head down and support them. Also on the bill are Anciients, BRASS, and Empress.

Check out the album teaser for Without New Growth Process Is Bloodshed by Astrakhan below, and head over to Bandcamp to stream/buy the album.

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