Band: The Grand Astoria
CD Title: The Mighty Few
Label: BNiL (2015)
Rating: Excellent heavy Prog with a Canterbury feel
The Mighty Few is the sixth studio album for the Saint Petersburgh, Russia band The Grand Astoria. As such it shows the band moving ever so slightly into a decidedly more Proggy vein. Right off the top it’s worth pointing out the band has what can only be described as an extremely eclectic style and I’m thinking that’s just the way they like it. The band started off with the focus on twin guitars and little if any keyboards. By the time they got to this album in 2015 their quest to make more interesting and adventurous music had them incorporating a variety of vintage keyboards such as the Rhodes piano along with flutes, reeds and trumpets. Obviously this makes for a much more expansive sound. The Mighty Few is made up of only two compositions; one is just over twenty-eight minutes and the other is a bit over twenty-one minutes. Each track is made up various segments stitched together to make the whole piece and those individual segments are made up of psychedelic, heavy metal, space rock and more which all together presents a very heavy Prog feel overall. Typical of their musical approach is to go from a heavy-guitar-riffing vibe directly into something more delicate and introspective such as at the seven minute mark of the first track “Curse of the Ninth.” This softer melodic bit lasts a minute or two to provide change of pace before the band shifts into something with a little more Jazzy Canterburian feel. Segments throughout are designed to be opportunities for full-on performance among the players and it shines through as all those instruments and the performers behind them get multiple opportunities to really play in the execution of the song. There is quite a powerful “off-the-floor” improvised feel throughout and all that jazzy performance is punctuated nicely with some contagious heavy guitar riffing. All together The Mighty Few is a mighty powerful piece of heavy prog that should appeal to lovers of that genre. Great band, well worth checking out.