Kal-El, a stoner rock band signed to Argonauta Records, released Astrodoomeda this past August. This is release is 8 tracks of doomy stoner rock, with a sci-fi twist due to some of the lyrical content; in their words “Kal-El is the fuzzed-out step-child of hard rock and heavy metal, often with hints of pyschedelic and blues rock as well as doom metal. Songs typically feature a bass-heavy groove, detuned guitars and mind-expanding lyrics.” They take influence from a number of places, including Unida, Kyuss, Slo Burn, Nebula, Black Sabbath, Monster Magnet, Hermano, Clutch, Belzebong.
I personally thought the name of the band came from a Superman movie, Kal – El was Superman’s arch enemy, but in reality it is Hebrew for Star Child. Ståle Rodvelt, vocalist of the band, confirmed this for me in a Facebook chat we had shortly after obtaining this killer album. After the first listen I had thought it was a concept album, so I messaged Ståle to ask, and he had this to say, “Well, it’s not a concept album per say, but some of the songs could perhaps be related in some ways. When I write the lyrics, they come from novels I write about this intergalactic heroine called Mica. And she will surface indeed in the lyrics, but not all of them.” Either way, this is a killer record!
The first track, “Astrodoomeda”, is just over 9 minutes in length, but you’d never know it upon listening. According to Ståle, “Astrodoomeda is about the long journey to the galaxy of Astrodoomeda”, which is cool as I love sci-fi and space themed media. The music is killer, heavy but not so heavy as to be off-putting to the casual listener of the genre. Vocally there is an essence of Osbourne going on, and it really adds to the overall tone of the song, and album as a whole.
“Starlight Shade” is the longest song on the album, clocking in at over ten minutes! The song itself “is about this job Mica has as bounty hunter and perhaps question her judgement as she is about to pop this dude.” This to me brings to mind the duality of man, how we all struggle with our need to be good, moral people, in an immoral world/job/situation. I love the intro, very ethereal, slow, and it builds up the anticipation for the song. At about the 5:40 mark is where the song begins to hit its stride, and the vocals come in shortly thereafter. The verse is minimalistic musically, and the vocals are saturated with some very nice vocal effects.
“Luna’ is another excellent song, and significantly shorter than the other tracks we’ve discussed. The guitar tones here, and throughout the album, are some of the nicest fuzz tones out there. I also like the fact that, especially on this one, the production is so well done. Nothing is overpowered by anything else, and the bass tone is huge!!! Being an ex-bassist, and current guitarist, I am especially happy to hear the distinction between the instruments.
Astodoomeda is a fantastic album from start to finish, and is most assuredly worthy of you all hearing it. So go check it out, and investigate other acts signed to Argonauta Records, as the label has so many great artists on its roster; it would be impossible to not find something else that kicks ass! I’ll leave you a link below to help get you on your way! Enjoy!!!
- Tom Hanno
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