I have no idea why Astronoid hasn’t blown up yet. Their mixture of blistering thrash metal riffs, major key melodies, and dreamy, sky-high melodies works for all the same reasons that made Deafheaven’s Sunbather such a masterpiece, with the added benefit that you can actually sing along with it. They should be everywhere. But ever since hearing them for the first time around 2018, I’ve felt like I’ve been loose-lipped with a band that everyone else has decided should be a secret. I gladly skipped As Cities Burn and Silent Planet’s sets at Furnace Fest last year to catch Astronoid—with what feels like maybe only fifty other people at 2pm on Friday afternoon.
Live, everything I love about the band was made even more plain: the relentless drumming of Matt St. Jean, the fret-shredding riffs of guitarist Casey Aylward and bassist Daniel Schwartz are mixed with the soaring vocals of Brett Boland, which make even the most brutal accompaniments sound hopeful.
On “Eyes,” the first single from the upcoming Radiant Bloom, Astronoid sticks with what works, and boy, does it ever work. Instruments are more aggressive than ever, with sections of blast beats, detuned djent riffage, and a guitar solo that would make Eddie Van Halen blush. Boland’s voice isn’t swayed by the increased heaviness though, remaining just as bright and airy as ever, often multitracked into lush harmonies with himself.
It’s an incredible demonstration of Astronoid’s talent for creating music that is absolutely punishingly heavy while remaining achingly beautiful—and it’s just the latest in a long line of such demonstrations. Their signature formula is largely unchanged since 2015’s Air, but to borrow an old cliche, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. And if “Eyes” is any indication, there is still plenty of ripe fruit on this tree.
Radiant Bloom is out June 3 on 3Dot Recordings.