Astral Gardens – Brian Boru EP
Limerick’s Astral Gardens are proponents of the genre known as Celtic Stoner Metal. Yes, it’s a new one on me too. The “daycent feens known collectively as Astral Gardens” played the Indiependence Festival last year, and have recently become a threesome rather than a four man band.
So what’s Celtic Stoner Metal like? Less angry than you’d imagine, and probably better than I expected. The trio infuse the legends of old (particularly on title track ‘Brian Boru’) with a ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ urgency and some really neat riffs. The repeated shouting of the name of the 11th Century High King of Ireland for the chorus lends the tune a metal feel, but I think this is what lets the record, and the band down – Owen Hickie’s vocals.
The sound of the band is really tight, and the instrumentation impressive. The riffs which dominate ‘Brian Boru’ and ‘The Battle of Kadesh’ are encaptivating, but the songs suffer when Hickie layers his words over them. The lyrics are decent enough, don’t get me wrong, I just wonder how good the band would be if it was an instrumental rock group instead of a Celtic Stoner Metal band. How about Instrumental Celtic Stoner Metal?
Fans of Therapy should really like this album, and it’s filled with wonderful metal grooves and plenty of trashing, but it may not be for everyone.