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The Grand Astoria / Montenegro - 2014 - "The Grand Astoria / Montenegro"

(47:56; Flower Punk Records / Sick-O-Delic Records / {addicted label])


TRACK LIST:                  

1. The Grand Astoria: The Body Limits 29:16
2. Montenegro: El Matadero 18:40


The Grand Astoria:
Kamille Sharapodinov - guitars, vocals, electronics, samples
Danila Danilov - vocals
Igor Suvorov - guitars
Dmitry Ogorodnov - bass
Albert Vartanov - drums, percussion

Augustin Girolami - vocals
Gonzalo Rubio Garcia - guitars
Luciano Marchisio - bass
Santiago Lago - drums
Jose Luis Alvarez Rodriguez - additional instruments

Prolusion. Russian band THE GRAND ASTORIA have been an active band for more than a decade, with more than 30 releases to their name so far, counting all their releases. Argentinian band MONTENEGRO first appeared as recording artists in 2013, and have one studio album, a live album and an EP to their name at this point. In 2014 these two bands decided to release a self-titled, split album. Initially released on the labels Flower Punk Records and Sick-o-Delic Records, this production was also made available through the Russian [addicted label] at about the same time from what I can understand.

Analysis. This split album follows in the tradition of many fine split albums: It combines the talents of two bands with a similar general approach and a comparable style, but where both bands ultimately explore somewhat different parts of their chosen style or styles. In this case doom metal / stoner rock and psychedelic rock being the styles in question, explored in a rather different manner by both bands but also music that can be described in a very similar manner. I presume productions like these are made partially to save expenses, but also to expand the reach towards fans by both bands. That they are as geographically separated as they are also makes this a logical thought. The Grand Astoria opens this album with a sprawling contribution that crawls in at just under the half hour mark. This creation opens with an elongated relatively light toned and careful circulating psychedelic arrangement that is moving and repeating in circulating patterns, gradually and slowly developing and making impact through the hypnotic effects of repetition. At about the 10 minute mark the song picks up pace and intensity and then segues straight into a classic Black Sabbath inspired take on doom metal, which is then explored also through some chaotic and psychedelic filters, with a few returns to passages more in line with the opening and more careful psychedelic passage along the way. Montenegro's contribution merely clocks in at 18 minutes and bit, and is arguably a bit more expressive in form. They open their composition in a similar manner, focusing on psychedelic rock, but in this case a more blues-laden, beefier variety of the kind that gave me associations to Robin Trower's first couple of solo albums as possible points of reference. Montenegro also switch to doom metal, although the pacier, more energetic variety they choose for this song is closer to what I'd describe as stoner metal than stoner rock or classic doom metal as such. They do push this style through some psychedelic and chaotic filters along the way too, and also revisit the earlier, opening arrangement. In addition, they add in a distinctly South-American sounding roots-oriented intermission, and gives a slight tip of the hat in the direction of the classic Black Sabbath sound before they conclude as well. Well made epic length affairs both of them, with certain similarities in structure and build up for sure, but also creations that are distinctly different from each other on other levels.

Conclusion. This split album is one that I suspect will have it's main appeal towards a somewhat niche-oriented audience of a finite size. This mainly due to the length of the songs and the styles and style variations explored, as both of these aspects combined probably will limit the overall reach somewhat. That being said, those who find that they have a strong and equal passion for psychedelic rock, classic era doom metal and a more contemporary stoner metal sound should feel right at home with the two bands featured on this split album

Progmessor: October 13th 2019
The Rating Room

Related Links:

The Grand Astoria Montenegro NonameRecordz


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