The Grand Astoria – Omnipresence Review

The Grand Astoria - Omnipresence

The Grand Astoria - Omnipresence

The Grand Astoria are a dynamic and exciting Russian Rock/Metal band from Saint-Petersburg, who play a mixture of Stoner Rock, Countdown’ era Megadeth and Progressive Rock influenced styles, updated for the modern day. They have a DIY ethic that drives them, much of their tours and contacts with the public are sorted out through myspace and much of their music is given away for free to hook fans in.

Despite the band only having formed in 2009, Omnipresence, this 2011 release is their third Full-Length Studio Album. The band have a logo/mascot in the same vein as Dio/Maiden/Megadeth that has been on their previous artwork who makes a return here too.

If you are a fan of Stoner bands and like a lot of guitar solos, higher pitched vocals, effects covered vocals and a higher than normal level of musical variety then this band really may well appeal to you, their sound is utterly fascinating and is somehow as unique as it is eclectic.

The album covers a lot of ground in its duration; The slow and brooding ‘Omniabsence’ is a mixture of hypnotic rhythm section building and interesting soundscapes that would please Isis and Mars Volta fans alike, ‘Hungry & Foolish,’ sounds a little like Fu Manchu covering an early King Crimson number and ‘The Song Of Home’ is funk tinged like Hughes era Deep Purple.

The absolute album highlight is the twelve minute ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes,’ which starts off as the absolute perfect Stoner Rock track before evolving off in all sorts of tangents (ranging from Southern Rock to Thrash Metal and back again) which I suppose is also a perfect summary of the album as a whole and the band in general.

The production isn’t absolutely perfect, but still has that low buzz that fans of Stoner Rock are sure to like and the drums sound better than on any of their previous releases, making it a definite improvement on the previous records overall.

In Summary; Omnipresence is a really strong album of interesting, eclectic and incredibly well written music from a really exciting band that fans of Rock and Metal, and especially of Prog and Stoner really ought to check out. This may be available online for free, but it is far from a throw away listen, I would be absolutely happy to pay full price for a physical copy once distribution is sorted and it could well be a serious contender for my album of the year.

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