Burden Calls

Written by: PP on 19/08/2014 22:28:48

Less than a year and a half following their international breakthrough album "Efforts & Means", Austrian punk rock band Astpai return with their fifth full length album "Burden Calls". Much like it's predecessor, it's a dark, complex album that challenges the strict confines of punk rock in the same manner as Morning Glory have been doing for years now. Tempo is arbitrary and comes in second place to the structural flow of the songs, where intricate riffage and multifaceted melodies rank ahead as the band explores what is truly possible to do with the genre.

Their closest parallels sound wise might be The Flatliners and particularly None More Black, but both of them are far more traditional Fat Wreck Chords bands who rely on fast tempo and coarse, explosive vocals to drive their melodies home. In contrast, Astpai might utilize some of the same elements, but the ever-changing tempo from slow to fast, and the comparatively dark soundscape and huge grower type melodies underline an entirely different take on melodic punk rock. This is a genre usually associated with bright melodies, and while those do exist to an extent on "Burden Calls" songs like "Careers", "Small Change" and "Departure", the majority of the tracks rely on darker soundscapes and complicated guitar arrangements that, together with the coarsely sung yet melody-riddled vocals, create a truly unique and experimental expression that scores big points in this scribe's books. It also means that the melodies used are often subtle and require multiple active listening sessions before opening. That is a turn off to any ADD style music fans, for sure, but it creates far more depth in their expression, and enables a truly rewarding musical experience once you become more acquainted with the songs. It also means the longevity found on "Burden Calls" is great, proven by the month-long repeat listening session yours truly has spent on the album since early July. One month later, it's still not getting old.

"Burden Calls" at first appears not to have as monumental tracks as "Honest Or Sentimental" or "Biting Dogs Don't Chew", but as you spend time with the album pay close attention to the brilliance lurking underneath the surface in tracks like "Departure" and "Death Everywhere", just two of the highlights this album has to offer. Here, dark and coarse melody meets the complex arrangement in perfect harmony, resulting in one of the most exciting soundscapes we've heard in punk rock in quite some time. These moments frequent the whole album, which leaves it in a far more consistent state than the already solid "Efforts & Means", and thus an even better record overall.

Download: Departure, Death Everywhere, Single Use, Dead End Talking, Careers
For the fans of: The Flatliners, None More Black, Morning Glory, The Lawrence Arms, Star Fucking Hipsters
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.08.2014
Ass Card Records / Jump Start Records

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