The Astral Cadence – Paradigm

Progressive metal is an ever-crowded field. What is progressive can vary depending on whom is listening and certainly by which band is playing. The virtuosity and creativity of the genre certainly has its fanatics and in order to stand out from the pack, you have to really bring it. New York City’s instrumental maestros The Astral Cadence have spent several years between wood-shedding at the studio and performing live to make a name for themselves in the scene and now their hard work has paid off with their self-released debut, Paradigm.

From the first listen you can tell this is a band that aims to set itself apart. With the beautiful guitar work, silky bass lines, and super skillful drumming, the band brings a tasteful chaos to progressive music that few others have lately. The music on Paradigm is study in meshing genres, but keeping the feel and emotion out front. True, it has plenty of bangers that call to mind the best bands in the scene like Between The Buried and Me, Scale The Summit, TesseracT, early days Intronaut, Animals As Leaders, Glass Cloud, The Contortionist, Aviations and more. However, some of the best moments on the album are parts that pull you in with sweet bass licks or Jazz-inflected guitar passages.

The opener ‘The Alchemist’ is a terrific intro the the proceedings, with guitarist Sean Washington, bassist Dennis Lars Torrent, and drummer Bill Angelini each introducing themselves with a musical “hey, how’s it going?”. Within sixty seconds, the song grows with thumping bass lines, hardcore level drums, and expressive guitars. This gives way to a beast mode groove and a short shreddy solo. ‘Jenga’ is also a major riff fest. It was the first track I ever heard from the band, but it seems they have updated it for Paradigm. Definitely a mix that favors the band here and the middle section is an absolute head-nodder.

Each member can carry a section or an entire track, and it would seem the trade-off in the writing is always to serve the song, not the ego of the player. Impressive stuff for this kind of band. The entire album is strong from begging to end, but I really found myself returning to tracks like ‘Captain Jane’, ‘The Walkers’, ‘Time Machine’, and the closing title track.

I could go on and on, but the proof about Paradigm is in these tracks. This band is your next great hope for prog music. Put it on, set the repeat button, and let The Astral Cadence beam you up.