Review: “Astral” by Lost Conduit

13 different Deathcore and Death Metal vocalists make their presence felt with appearances across the 10 tracks that make up “Astral” by Lost Conduit. Just let that sink in for a moment. The project is the brain child of multi instrumentalist Drew Klugger and vocalist Justin Haskin of Desolist, that started with a dream of creating cross over music to bridge the gap between Djent, Metal Core and Death Core with a focus on extra terrestrial tales. Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Andrew Zink of BroJob fame alongside Connor Reibling at Hollowed Studios and with artwork by Daniel Wagner, the list of vocalists alone should be more than enough to raise an eyebrow and whet your appetite. For Destruction.

Setting the tone with some ferocious vocals from Justin Haskin of Desolist, title track “Astral” is a front loaded cut that is rammed full of Tech-Metal riffs, bright Misstiq esq synths, dark atmospheres and of course DJent fueled bounce. It’s actually very much what we’re expecting to hear from the upcoming Japanese culture themed Within Destruction album “Yokai“, which probably means it’s on point for the current scene or something. It’s blisteringly energetic with neat tempo shifts and the overall result is a fun track that is straight for the pit with mosh-able intent while lyrically sounding like the tale of someone suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, in a waking nightmare of memories of war. “Eternity” sees Ben Duerr of Shadow Of Intent join Haskin to see who can deliver the lowest Deathcore growls. What works here is the pitch differences between the two vocalists, which means that as the vocals intertwine, you get to hear each performer clearly. Musically the track is reminiscent of “Against the World” era Winds of Plague with burning synth patterns and brutal staccato riffs. “Ember” continues the vibe musically with Andrew Patterson of And Hell Followed With replacing Duerr. The track punches hard a brutal mid cut blast beat section with science fiction synths gives you an idea of what a band like Melodic Death Metallers Nekrogoblikon would sound like if they went Deathcore. It’s punishingly, compellingly and pummelingly good and those synths are ice cold, effectively a second guitar rather than some moody slow atmospheric part.

The first of two tracks to see three guest vocalists plus Haskin comes in the form of “Aversion” and sees Luke Griffin of Acrania, Greg Gilbert of Shrine of Malice & Lucca Schmerler of German Slam titans Mental Cruelty all getting involved. As you might (or might not) expect, this means Pig Squeals, Slam parts and vocal interplay galore in sonic projectile of the highest order. The trio of guests that appear on this one have been well matched and it’s pretty clear that a certain amount of forethought has gone into what the end result of their combination will be. But it’s not just about those vocalists. The music has to give them the platform to decimate and multi instrumentalist Drew Klugger delivers on his end of the bargain with pure evil style. Driven riffs and relentless kit work fueled by a backdrop of electronics are nothing short of jaw dropping. Mid album instrumental break “XIX” is simply and introduction piece for the proving grounds that is “Plagues” which sees Austin Dickey of For The Likes Of You & Dan Watson of Enterprise Earth go head to head to throat shredding combat. This cut has a wonderful rise and fall flow to it and the soundtrack to the Apocalypse has never sounded blood curdling good. “Animal” is the second four vocalist attack with Tyler Shelton of Traitors, ex-The Contortionist frontman Jonathan Carpenter & Duncan Bentley of South African Slamming Death Metallers Vulvodynia each taking a turn in the light. The riffs are DJent bounce heavy but the surprise is a clean vocal harmony that adds an undercurrent and momentary sonic break before Bentley welcomes you to infinite night with some demonic Slam vocals that sound like the Bioraptors of Pitch Black. Lyrically it’s the awakening of a slumbering beast, in part from the beasts perspective as the human race neglected all the signs and is now about to endure a reign of terror.

If anyone thought that Brand Of Sacrifice might be going soft after “Charlotte” appeared as a single and gained them a bit more commercial success, then they need to turn away, run and hide now. “Damsel” sees Kyle Anderson take up the mantle and it all goes off like a Molotov cocktail. Lyrically a Matrix like tale that plays out like a film, it sounds like it belongs to Rings of Saturn with that Alien Tech guitars sound that is just immense. Counter play that with the ethereal synths of “Shrouded” that build atmosphere of light and shade with a primitive drum sound behind the epic grandeur making for a moment of calm before the storm that is “Ruins“. Rheese Peters of Babirusa and formerly A Night In Texas joins the juggernaut with brutal rap screams in a Stephen King meets John Carpenter World of predator and prey. There is no breathing space between the Science Fiction lyrics and the sheer onslaught of high quality DJent fueled Deathcore on this album, it’s one that gives you plenty to think about after the raid on Area 51 is over, though there is no doubt you’ll need the lyric sheet to decipher it’s true meaning [8/10]

Track listing

1. Astral
2. Eternity (ft. Ben Duerr of Shadow Of Intent)
3. Ember (ft. Andrew Patterson of And Hell Followed With)
4. Aversion (ft. Luke Griffin of Acrania, Greg Gilbert of Shrine of Malice & Lucca Schmerler of Mental Cruelty)
5. XIX
6. Plagues (ft. Austin Dickey of For The Likes Of You & Dan Watson of Enterprise Earth)
7. Animal (ft. Tyler Shelton of Traitors, Jonathan Carpenter ex-The Contortionist & Duncan Bentley of Vulvodynia)
8. Damsel (ft. Kyle Anderson of Brand of Sacrifice)
9. Shrouded
10. Ruins (ft. Rheese Peters of Babirusa, ex-A Night In Texas)

Astral” by Lost Conduit will be released on 3rd July and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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