Album Review: Astra – “Oathkeeper Part 1” 8 (Progressive Death)

Astra - Oathkeeper Pt. 1

Written by Katha

  • ASTRA
  • Oathkeeper Part 1
  • Symphonic/progressive death metal
  • April 3rd, 2020
  • Norway
  • Highlights: Hammerdown – Arcane Revelation – The Frozen Altar
  • 8/10

How about a musical Viking journey? The new metal duo ASTRA invites you to join them on a trip through a winter landscape steeped in a deep and dark lore – And it’s an great one!

Astra - Oathkeeper Pt. 1
Astra – Oathkeeper Part 1

Sondre Paulsen and William Strengelsrud are the musicians behind Astra. Sondre started the writing process back in 2012, supported by songwriter and producer Kim-Roger Nyeggen, who helped to develop the concept. Along the way he reunited with childhood friend William to finish the majority of the songwriting and recording together. The result of their eight year long odyssey became a great listening experience.

Sondre Paulsen and William Strengelsrud 

The journey starts with “Northbound”, an instrumental intro, before “Valkyrian Crusader” kicks in with full power. Rhythm section and keyboards deliver a solid basis, on which the guitars and vocals develop the different songs. I like that mix of raw, polyphonic and catchy vocals, as well as the powerful heaviness brought in by the guitars in combination with some virtuoso parts.

“Hammerdown” gives a very good impression what to expect from Astra:

ASTRA: YOUTUBE / FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM

There are many epic moments on this album. The concept works, you can see the Northern landscape and Viking hordes in front your inner eye, the music could be used for a film as well. The only song that doesn’t want to fit is “Return to Vinterhelm”, which starts with a nice 80s vibe, but develops very tame.

To sum it up, Astra’s debut is a very interesting new discovery for me. And as this album is Part 1, I have high hopes that there will be a Part 2 in the foreseeable future.

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