The Grand Astoria — Deathmarch EP
(Addicted Label BNiL 685, 2013, CD / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2018-11-10
I first encountered The Grand Astoria when they appeared on FdM’s 2011 Roqueting through Space compilation. Then again on FdM’s 2013 Strange Fish compilations. I was impressed by their mastery of psych. space rock, and krautrock, but it isn’t until now that I have been able to listen to their 2013 EP Deathmarch. The music on this five-track EP is a bit different, more akin to hard rock and Black Sabbath than space rock, but all masterfully played. Two of the tracks are instrumentals and the other three with unaccented English lyrics. Though there is that broad pronounciation that you sometimes encounter when Brit actors try to sound American. If you like cascading sequencers, heavy guitar power chords, melodic metal lead lines, and blues / prog / psych rock, then you will enjoy Deathmarch. The two outstanding tracks are “World without a Smile” and “No Way Out,” with their inspired guitar riffs. Deathmarch is one of the high points in all of the Russian releases I’ve recently reviewed.
Related artist(s): The Grand Astoria
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.