ASTRY VALLEY Album Review: “Midnight Sun”

“Midnight Sun”
Album Review by Iron Mathew


Astray Valley are a metal band from Spain formed in 2014, to date releasing two E.P.’s – ‘Dystopia’ (2015) and ‘Tales Of Lun’ (2021), and two albums – ‘Unneth’ (2018) and ‘Midnight Sun’ (2023).

In recent years, the new sub-genre of metal known as “modern metal” has become a term to describe bands who meld the styles of alternative, progressive, and melodic death metal with metalcore – bringing a newer, fresher approach to the heavy metal genre. Modern metal is immediate, in your face, attitude laden, and can come across as full of anger and angst – perfectly summing up the Astray Valley sound! The band, led from the front by singer Clau Violette, and completed by Joan Moreno (guitar), Adria Vargas (guitar), Alex Albano (bass), and Unai Splinters (drums), are a ferocious force of nature, ‘Midnight Sun’ an eight song stomp across thirty two highly abrasive yet melodic minutes…

…the album storming into life with all the force of a sledgehammer smashing concrete – ‘Darkest Times’ a thundering slab of heavy metal fuelled by aggression and menace! Menace that manifests itself in some howling vocals from singer Clau Violette – an incredible range that stretches from clean, very melodic to raspy and scowling death metal! ‘Darkest Times’ is one of those immediate sit up and take notice kinda songs, forcing you to stop whatever it is you’re doing, and pay one hundred percent attention to the unfolding aural avalanche! An avalanche that strides on with the more progressive in nature ‘Neon Misery’, Astray Valley building on what the first song achieved – jaws dropping to the floor with an almighty thud!

I’m very much a traditionalist when it comes to heavy metal, though over recent years modern metal has begun to weave its magic within my heart and soul – bands such as Volturian, Tungsten and Scarleth (to name just a few) turning me on to the “modern metal” phenomena. ‘Your Skin’ is a majestic march of heavy hitting angst and attitude, the bludgeoning barrage of heavy metal shuddering the ground and crumbling walls! And the vocal range here of singer Clau, is much wider than the ear to ear smile I have on my face – the same smile I’d imagine every listener, fan and follower to have too! Smiles that aren’t going away any time soon, ‘Pray For The Devil’ taking flight as the most melodious song heard so far. Astray Valley have decimated everything in front of them since the album began, marching forth with authority and aplomb, turning heads and accumulating followers left, right and centre!

There’s just no stopping the Astray Valley onslaught, the band increasing the intensity level for the hard rock tinged ‘The Hunger’ – hard rock tinged just like in the old days of heavy metal during the eighties when (nearly) every band was labelled as a heavy metal band. Clau keeps her growls in check throughout ‘The Hunger’, delivering a commanding arena rock roar! A roar that’s infectious and intoxicating, casting a “you will listen to me” spell over everbody, from rockers to metalheads to thrashers and everyone in-between! Simply stunning stuff! And summing up just what modern metal is, the band deliver ‘The Storm’, deafening listeners everywhere with its abrasive nature and highly progressive leanings. Not to mention the bout of howling, scowling and growling array of vocals from Clau, sending shivers down my spine right from my head to my err, ahem, arse – although to be factually correct, the bottom of the spine is the “sacrum”, just below the “lumbar spine”.

Featuring more hustle and bustle than any other song on offer, ‘Days Are Fading’ also shows the band in a lighter mood, angelic vocals soaring through the air as ‘Days Are Fading’ constantly changes identity, twisting this way and that, keeping listeners guessing as to which direction the band are gonna turn in next! I for one, got lost a few songs ago, but does it really matter when the music on offer is this fucking good? Not at all, just sit back, relax, and let the band take you on a mesmerising journey through a myriad of metal styles – the final song ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, bringing thrash to the fore! The pace, power and oomph on show throughout ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ is phenomenal, the band hurtling down the autopista at incredible speed – occasionally driving through progressive metal territory!

Overall, an intense yet infectious journey of many metal styles, ‘Midnight Sun’ is a genre hopping album of incredible precision.


Darkest Times
Neon Misery
Your Skin
Pray For The Devil
The Hunger
The Storm
Days Are Fading
When The Sun Goes Down

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