Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Momentum of Asteria

With all the bands I'm giving you guys from outside our time-zones here in the U.S., I figured I'd also give you a few to chomp on that are from right here in our backyard. With so much talent abroad in places like Australia and all over Europe, it can be easy to forget that we have some incredible talent here too. But that's something I don't intend on letting slip from my attention, so today I'm gonna show you a band that's all-American and all-amazing.
From deep in America's heartland, Crown Point, Indiana to be be precise, Asteria is a band that exudes alternative rhythm with pop-punk choruses in a way that has become a little rare these days. It's actually a funny thing, since I discovered these guys a few years ago in 2007 when they released one of their previous albums. It seems that for a couple of years they slipped from my radar, but they're back now, and I gotta say that with their new release Momentum, Asteria are truly an underground group worth knowing about. Not only would these guys find a comfortable home on Warped Tour, but I could see them playing well next to names like Against Me! and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
A five-piece composed of Terrence Kline (lead vocals), Seth Henderson (guitar and vocals), Ryan Gullett (guitar and vocals), Brandon McQuen (bass), and Sam Henderson (drums), Asteria are not your typical unsigned band. These guys have been soldiering on since 2005 with multiple releases that show an intense passion as well as a great collection of creative forces within the band. With the releases A Lesson in Charades (2005), Slip Into Something More Comfortable (2007), their self-titled EP (2008), and now Momentum, released in September of 2010, Asteria's sound has not only matured and evolved over the years, but managed to retain its pure alternative-punk attitude that I fell in love with back in '07 when I discovered them.
The first song I listen to from Asteria's new album is "Hold On (God Damn)," a strong reminder of why I was so struck by these guys back on '07. With flying vocals by Kline and dynamic guitar work and interplay between Seth Henderson and Gullett, "Hold On (God Damn)" is one song I know will sound amazing live any time they play it. McQuen's bass, meanwhile, underlies the guitars and provides a rhythmic lance for Sam Henderson's drums. The rhythm section here is great, and the song only benefits for it. A catchy vocal melody and great cymbal-work by Sam Henderson make "Hold On (God Damn)" a great choice for a lead-off single for Momentum.
"Heartbreaker," too, boasts an under-the-radar rhythm that compliments a fantastic melody to deliver a great song. Gullett's guitar is stop/start, one of my favorite dynamics, and as it synchs up nicely with Seth Henderson's chords and notes, Kline's vocals prove to be a kick in the ass. Sharp-tongued and resting on great alternative chords and drumming, Kline's lyrics sear right through me, and I know that Momentum wouldn't be complete without this track.
While I could go ahead and talk about other great tracks on Momentum like "Candles" and "Shake It Off," I think it would serve more to talk about what struck me about these guys in the first place. The first song I ever heard by them, and still my very favorite to this day, "The Taste The Touch" came out on Slip Into Something More Comfortable. If this song had nothing else going for it, the intro would be ore than enough. The building between Gullett's and Seth Henderson's guitars on top of the driving bass and drums is incredible, and when Kline comes in with those high notes he can hit, I'm shocked and left open-mouthed. "The Taste The Touch" will work its way into the deepest parts of your brain with a great rhythm and a chorus that will drive you insane as you find yourself humming it all day long. I absolutely love this song, and I gotta say it sounds as fresh and brash now as it did when I first heard it in 2007. No Asteria playlist would be complete without this song at the very top. It's gold, pure and simple.
One of my other favorites, though, is from an even earlier Asteria release. The only thing I can say about the title track from A Lesson in Charades is that the guitars will drive you forward and pull you back in a sonic vortex like you haven't experienced in a long time. The vocals are reserved just before breaking out in a brilliant array of notes and the bass is all-encompassing on top of professional-style drums. Apart from lyrics I can honestly say I wish I'd penned myself, "A Lesson in Charades" has a fantastic guitar progression that will have you head-banging in no time.
I can't say anymore about these guys. I know if I do, I'll only ruin what will be a great discovery for you guys. Point stands though, that Asteria is one of the best indie-alternative bands I've heard in a long time. Why these guys are still unsigned after four amazing releases just speaks to the crumbling establishment we used to call the music industry. Then again, it also speaks to the real passion that these guys have behind their music, and with sparks and creativity like that, music lovers can rejoice that real rock ethics are alive and well. True to DIY in the best way, Asteria have proved that they're not going anywhere anytime soon, and the only thing I can think now is I can't wait to see what they have coming next.

Sounds Like: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Tickle Me Pink, Senses Fail, Rise Against

Key Tracks from Momentum, Slip Into Something More Comfortable and A lesson in Charades (respectively): "Hold On (God Damn)," "Heartbreaker," "The Taste The Touch," "A Lesson in Charades"

Check out Asteria more at:, and!/asteriaband?v=wall

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