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February 25 , 2021
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Astral Projection - Amen

 ( Phonokol / T.I.T. ,  Oct. 2002 )


1. Amen 6:02 2. Chaos 8:40 3. Infinite Justice 7:02 4. The Nexus 7:45 5. Sticks & Stones 9:35 6. Techno Drome 7:50 7. 1,000,000 Years from Today... 8:21 8. Anything is Possible 8:27 9. Heaven's Gate 7:38 10. Electric Blue 7:54

The long awaited album from Astral Projection finally arrives. Everything has been said about them. That they invented trance, they are the masters of sound, and many more things. They are probably the most controversial act on the planet. Many people have buried them and their Goa style. Their last album was In The Mix 2 years ago, and it was more like a "best of" and remixes album. People were eager to hear the new sound of Astral Projection. Their latest tracks, such as Axis v0.99, Anything is Possible, Burning Up, were hinting about a change of style into the more clubby sound. This album shows us that they're back into the Goa business, but this time they explore new realms and make a twist to the definition: Goa.

The first track shares the name of the album- Amen. What we get hear is the usual AP track. Sweeping synth lines and the typical "wall of sound" like only they know how to do. The melodies on the other hand are a bit less emotional than what we got used to. Follows Chaos and the Astral guys are not waiting for anyone. A kick drum directly from the start but this time the track has a progressive touch to it. Evolving slowly slowly but the main idea is always present. This is one of my favorites here. Infinite Justice follows the same structural formula but the known melodies are back full power- emotional and meaningful. The only bad part about them - they're repeating themselves throughout the entire track. Next is The Nexus with yet again the same feeling of structure - kick drum on the start, evolution of sounds, break, more evolution, another break, end. They're trying to make progressive goa, and in my opinion it doesn't work like they expected. Then it's Sticks & Stones (T5). This time there's a small change from the previous three. The sound and melodies are much more aggressive and also much more psychedelic- a great deal of little flying sounds and a fat bassline come in aid. One thing that really disturbed me in the track were the scale transpositions. They're done in a very annoying way. Techno Drome is probably the most minimal track on this album, but Astral's own interpretation of "minimal". The dominant part of this track are the effects and sounds, not the melody like in most of their tracks. 1,000,000 Years from Today (T7) retains the same formula but this time they do it in a more industrial way, which is much better in my opinion. Then it's Anything is Possible, which has been released numerous times on various compilations and singles. I'd say 2 years is enough time for Astral to make another new track. The track itself doesn't hold to the standards of the rest of the album. Heaven's Gate (T9) sounds like Infinite Justice part 2. The structure is exactly the same and the main (repetitive) melody doesn't sound different as well. Despite the unoriginality, the track itself is quite good. Closing the album is Electric Blue. A perfect combination of Goa and club trance- definitely the best track on the album, if you're ignoring the sudden stop, thinking it's a break and then checking on the CD player to see that the track has ended.

Recomendation:  I am ambivalent towards this album. On the one hand, the production and sound level is amazing. Some of the tracks are emotional and will be remembered years to come. On the other hand, we've all heard this before. The tracks in the album follow the same formula, and they don't bring anything new and refreshing. If you're an Astral Projection fan, get this. You'll enjoy every minute. If you're not, well I suggest you listen to samples to see for yourself. My favorites: 1, 2, 3/9,7, 10(!).

Review by : Mike A.

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