The Hungarian band Ad Astra was founded at the turn of the millennium - and had to face a couple of line-up changes in the beginning. Finally they found a steady line-up and after releasing some demo with Hungarian lyrics they decided it's time to draw some international attention and so switched to English. with Crust Of Ego they now present their debut album. As musical influences they name bands like Nevermore, Opeth, Death, Control Denied, Pain Of Salvation and Psychotic Waltz. So what to expect?
The quintet presents on No Contact a melange of progressive parts, heavy riffs and a thrashy note. Singer Csaba Morvai has a powerful, clear voice who can keep up against the wall of guitars. They can surprise the listener with twists and turns. And somehow the song shows their main influences in combination, even if that's hard to imagine. With Stranger Faces they offer a more complex track which tends more to prog metal then to power thrash. Perhaps can be compared to early works of Dream Theater... Or some of the heavier tunes of Pain Of Salvation - just to give you an idea. At the title track Crust Of Ego they combine fast thrashy riffs with progressive parts and a catchy melody line. The song has power and hooks you up. A true highlight!
Another great one is Waves. But at the end I can only recommend to listen to the whole album!
Last, but not least they offer a cover version of U2's Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me. I never been a fan of U2, but I know this songs from radio and TV... The song sounds quite different to me... More progressive, but also at the essential parts close to the original. But I guess, that U2 fans have a different point of view...
Well, let's hope we get more great bands from countries like Hungary which aren't well represented at the world map of metal! For a debut album Ad Astra offer a very homogenous album which is on a high level. These guys know how to play and the powerful, clear production is above the average debut release. So, if this sounds interesting to you, check them out and spread the word!