Astral Darkness – Hell Is A State Of Mind – EP Review
Germán Pavelek – the mind behind the music of Astral Darkness is back in action with a brand-new EP, Hell Is A State Of Mind. For many out there…that’s not just a great title for an EP – those are words to live by & survive with right now; and largely to some degree I imagine that is much the point…that within music there is also an escape from the rest of the daily grind and the crazy things that happen on this planet. Germán takes it a step even further by being an electronic instrumentalist and leaving words behind…to truly set himself free – he’s clearly in touch with the concepts within the subtext of the new record that remind him that, indeed, Hell Is A State Of Mind.
He had certainly impressed us last time around with his album Surreal Dreams, which we reviewed just a bit earlier than about this point in the year of 2015…one of those artists you can always rely on for true quality, professionalism and incredible ideas in electro-music. As Astral Darkness begins this new chapter with the title-tune “Hell Is A State Of Mind” – we quickly follow a fading-in to tightly-produced metallic-sounds & like…warped-up didgeridoo-like effects come pulsing at you from all angles while a subtle synth-melody gets laced brilliantly underneath. Pavelek continues to display a serious amount of skill in his production, composition and performance from where we left off with him in the last part of his story a year back…and from the sounds of “Hell Is A State Of Mind” he’s found that will & want to break himself free once again – he sounds smartly focused and incredibly determined on this opening cut.
It would be impossible NOT to love the huge stomping beat of “Isolation Matters” – because straight-up, this is just that awesome. It’s like he’s tapped into the Mezzanine-gear from the Massive Attack catalog here – the atmosphere is absolutely wicked, deadly and dangerous…but 100% also fully groovin’! As much as I appreciated the EP’s opening tune…overall, “Isolation Matters” is really what gets this set of four completely headed on a path to victory. The pacing and movement absolutely hits the mark and the sound in the tone of each element he’s added into the layers and depths of the madness in “Isolation Matters” truly all add up to something incredible. Every time this groove came around as I repeated my experience of Hell Is A State Of Mind I reached for the volume to completely crank this stunning track to the rafters. The drums are seriously INTENSE and the swirling menace of the synth atmosphere surrounding them make for a massively vibrant and stunning listening experience – “Isolation Matters” is a devilishly wild ride.
Staying in the dark in the trip-hop electro-vibe but creating something a bit more experimental and playful within the sounds of “Aliens On Earth” – overall it’s a cut that goes more for a specific kind of atmosphere and environment than it does spend time looking to make traditional sounding hooks. It’s probably the least ‘straight-ahead’ of the bunch in the sense that you can feel Astral Darkness roaming the galaxy in search of new sounds, transitions and combinations – but I think for audiophiles out there, they might actually get the most out of this track out of any on the record. What it might trade for a more accessible groove, it makes up for complete through its tight production and extraordinary sounds, textures and variety in the idea itself…personally, I’m cool with trades like that.
While I can certainly enthusiastically support and vouch for everything I’ve heard from Astral Darkness on Hell Is A State Of Mind – I’ve gotta say…every time that “Deep Rising” came on I felt like the entire EP really kicked into that last special gear and straight into overdrive once again. This is truly one of those real ‘block-rockin’ beats’ and absolutely explodes with dynamic sound and impressive ideas throughout its length. Growing up on electro like The Crystal Method & The Chemical Brothers…well…let’s just say that’s led me to finding “Deep Rising” about as easy to love as it gets. Fantastic energy in this cut, great selection of sounds and in his longest track on the record, Germán has included plenty of building, evolution and progression into the melody as it rises, falls, breaks-down & comes back; lots going on and “Deep Rising” plays like it’s serving up pure-energy on-tap.
Overall…from what I’ve personally heard from Germán Pavelek and his music in Astral Darkness – I feel like this is the kind of electro-artist you can consistently count on without question when it comes to ingenuity, quality and innovation in sound & entertainment. Another solid win with these four tracks on Hell Is A State Of Mind – great range of ideas, stunning execution and flawless production – there’s a ton for your ears to love here on this EP.
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