Jump to content

ASTRA - Broken Balance (2014)


Recommended Posts


February 27, 2014 in Reviews by Arno Callens


April 15th

Astra - Broken Balance (2014)


Reviewed by Arno Callens


I never think of Italy as having a vast progressive metal market. A quick search (and lots of scrolling) on the Metal Archives tells me differently, but still I’m largely unconvinced. Of the few bands that are exported – Odd Dimension is another – Astra has always been my favorite. After humble beginnings in About Me: Through Life And Beyond, the band released an underrated scorcher in From Within and it seemed the story had just begun. Catching them at another passage through Belgium at PPM Fest (which is quite fond of them) in 2013, I left with a richer experience of the band, and a promise that Astra would be back this year. It is, and since the map of Italian prog is relatively small in my eyes, Broken Balance should put Astra firmly in the center.


What makes Astra as astral as its name suggests is an exemplary talent for making prog metal rock. The genre usually gets its goods from mileage, but Astra takes flight on the first song and never touches ground again. Of course there is a growing curve for some of the songs, yet you wouldn’t be able to tell from “Over The Hills” on From Within or the first four tracks present here. “Losing My Ego” is a sprawling, powerized prog assault delivering punch after punch, catchy chorus included. No shortage of any of that either on the dreamy “Hole In The Silence”, dreamier “From Sunrise To Sunset”, and kick-ass “Too Late” (“Too Late! Too Late!”).

Progging it up a notch is the somber title track and thumping “Faithless” before the band goes into full Dream Theater mode with “Mirror Of Your Soul”, as singer Andrea Casali gives his best James LaBrie-impression. “Risk And Dare” rips the throttle open to full once more, and from there the album thunders onward until the strangely-not-a-ballad-closer “You Make Me Better”. At twelve tracks, the band risks and dares to lose track of what’s what. This is nothing, however, that can’t be helped with second and third spins.

What’s to say about the musicianship besides that these guys can play ball with the best? Casali’s voice may be slightly too effeminate for some, but he’s far from syrupy, even on the softer songs. He has the pipes to fill stadiums, and that, along with the crispy guitar sound, lends the band its rock ‘n’ roll quality.

Prog can be slow to reveal itself, in all the best and worst ways possible. Astra is not alone in this regard, but proves it can be both direct and deep at the same time. I can sit down with an Anubis Gate album any day of the week and lovingly dissect it, but on another day of the same week I just crave a prog record that makes me headbang and think, and think about headbanging. Broken Balance serves its purpose as a thinking man’s adrenaline shot extremely well. Now it’s up to the world to take notice.

4.0 // 5

1. Losing My Ego 04:27

2. Hole in the Silence 04:25

3. Sunrise to Sunset 06:03

4. Too Late 05:23

5. Broken Balance 05:07

6. Faithless 04:24

7. Mirror of Your Soul 04:40

8. Risk and Dare 04:34

9. Break Me Down 04:32

10. Understand 04:11

11. Ending Season 04:27

12. You Make Me Better 04:02




Titta Tani Vocals

Silvio D'onorio De Meo Guitars

Emanuele Casali Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals

Andrea Casali Vocals, Bass

Filippo Berlini Drums



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Posts

    • I think most people know my stance on these two. I love LA Guns and think Tracii is one of the best guitarists to come out of the hair metal scene, and while I like Stryper I have really gone off them due to Michaels compulsion to release new material every second Wednesday. I have not bought the last 2 or 3 Stryper albums, and a bunch of other stuff he is involved in because of this. Hell, didnt even pick the first Sunbomb album up til early this year and only then it was because I got it for £5 instead of the usual £13 to £15 that Frontiers CDs usually cost. That album did not impress me. Musically it was tight but Sweets vocals were pretty "meh", and sounds like they are gonna be even worse on this album. Have to agree to what has already been said, but I can barely even understand what he is singing. Now while I am fine with listening to foreign language songs, if a singers native tongue is English, I wanna be able to understand what he is singing. Fuck me, there are death metal bands out there easier to understand than this. If I didnt know the song title, I would think it was called I'm bating bulls yeah
    • That Sunbomb release was soo bad that I can't believe there's gonna be another one.
    • Computer generated Gene is now God of Thunder 
    • Sorry, but those vocals are not good at all...
    • More info about Good Times Music: Welcome to Good Time Music…if you have found your way over here, it’s surely because you have a desire for melodic hard rock and AOR…or at least to satiety your curiosity, what we are all about . We will shortly announce our first signed band and one more will follow soon. We hope to be a landmark with the community and bring nothing but the best within the genres. To start off with we’ll release about 4 releases pr year. And with the love and support by you, the fans, we will hopefully gradually add to our rosters over the time to come. We will for sure be a force to be reckoned with and we are here to stay for good. Welcome onboard to all on this amazing journey we are about to engage in . Best, Carsten/CEO/President Good Time Music
    • It’s not a “you” problem; I could barely make out a word while listening to “Unbreakable” last night. A lyric video is definitely necessary when listening to MS these days. Still, even not having a clue what he was singing for the most part, this is better than pretty much everything off the first Shitbomb album. 
    • Enjoying this one, for defs their best release and they wear their influences firmly on their sleeves , mixing bands like Van Halen/Whitesnake/Treat/Pretty Maids/Magnum so whats not to like  
    • I didn't make the connection until a couple of days ago. This is the previous group of Tobias from Nestor.        
    • I miss the days when I could actually understand what Michael Sweet was singing.  Not sure if that's a "me" problem or a "Sweet" problem...
    • Lyric video for 'Unbreakable'.    
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.