Extremes designate the boundaries of existence. Suspended in a state of constant cosmic flux, we seek balance in the midst of these opposing poles. ASTRONOID divert energy from multiple extremes into an inviting, intricate, and inimitable signature style. The Boston quartet—Brett Boland, Daniel Schwartz, Casey Aylward, and Matt St. Jean—teeter between moments of lush shoegaze and a maelstrom of blackened metal bludgeoning under an entrancing hum. After gathering streams in the millions and receiving acclaimfrom Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan, MetalSucks, and more, the band hone this sonic and thematic harmony like never before on their third full-length album, “Radiant Bloom”.“It’s a balance of aggression and emotion,”observes Brett. “This is our next evolution. It’s a reflection of everything over the past few years, and it’s the most personal album we’ve made so far.”
ASTRONOID continue to progress. Following 2013’s “Stargazer”-EP, the group captivated tastemakers and audiences with “Air” in 2016. On its heels, the self-titled “Astronoid” opened up their world. Pitchfork described it as “an awesome intersection of black metal pummel and shoegaze luster,”while Brooklyn Vegan observed, “They feel more devoutly focused and more capable to do what they clearly have always been seeking to do.”Perhaps, Invisible Oranges put it best, “Clearly, ASTRONOID have turned their lush dreamscape into visceral reality.”Along the way, they toured and performed alongside the likes of Ghost, Between The Buried and Me, Zeal & Ardor, Animals As Leaders, Tesseract, Ghost Bath, and more as tracks such as “I Dream In Lines” and “A New Color” respectively crossed the million stream mark.
As the world slipped into lockdown at the onset of the Global Pandemic, Brett nodded to influences as diverse as The Smashing Pumpkins and Svalbard. He went through various iterations of the music, writing feverishly until he cracked the code on “Radiant Bloom”. John Weston engineered during drum tracking, while Brett and Daniel engineered and mixed everything else. Magnus Lindberg [Cult of Luna] mastered the record, while Travis Smith provided artwork.
“When I threw out all of the boundaries I set for myself, the record exploded,”he recalls. “It felt really good. That’s how the album formed.”The first single “Eyes” charges forward on a barrage of production underneath glistening vocals and warm riffs. It spirals into an anesthetizing lull punctuated by Brett’s hypnotic high register and a sinewy guitar solo.“It’s about feeling not completely sureof who you are or what you’re doing,”he notes. “There’s a lot of symbolism of being taken apart and put back together—you aren’t sure if you were put back the same way. At the time, there were a lot of changes in the world.”
A trudging beat thuds throughcelestial six-string atmospheres on “Sleep Whisperer.” It slips into a sweeping harmony awash in distortion.“It’s about wanting to leave and go to another planet,”he elaborates. “You’re done with everybody being so selfish, so you go to a new planet by yourself.”A dreamy intro sets the tone for “Human.” Conceived on a seven-string guitar and punctuated by synthesizers, it finds a middle ground “between Ihsahn and Genesis.”Through and through, the album examines life’s existential turbulence.
“The albumis about the state of being human and all the trials and tribulations that come along with that,”he says. “It’s about mundanity and boredom and about everything moving so fast that you feel like you can’t do it all. It’s about the flood of feelings that goes along with everyday experiences and trying to cope with the swirling vortex of life humming around you.”Meanwhile, the seven-minute “Decades” concludes “Radiant Bloom” with a cinematic statement.“I knew it had to close the record,”he reveals. “It’s about how I hate writing lyrics, but it really is our nineties shoegaze song.”
In the end, ASTRONOID achieve creative and individual balance on “Radiant Bloom”.“It’s about life’s experiences and changes and navigating through the good and bad,”he leaves off. “When you listen to it, I hope you can use it as a tool to help you in some way.”