ALBUM REVIEW: Heavy Psych Rockers Astral Hand Channel Signature Cosmic Energy On ‘Lords of Data’

The psychedelically electric foursome that is Astral Hand has been (im)patiently awaiting for the opportune moment to release their first album- and that moment has finally come. 

The Milwaukee-based band made up of Al Kraemer, Victor Buell, Anthony Smith, and Dan Dahl originally recorded their debut album, Lords of Data, back in 2019 with Shane Hochstettler of Howl Street Studios. However, due to postponement caused by the pandemic, the group spent the last three years carefully planning the perfect moment for their psychedelic launch.

Lords of Data officially hit streaming services March 6th, and tomorrow March 18th it will be released on vinyl via Romanus Records.

The project is an eight song sensation full of heavy synth-driven melodies, fuzzed-out guitar riffs, thunderous drums, and lyrical themes that range from the cosmic void to interstellar deities. 

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“Not Alone”

The album opens with the unearthly sounding track, “Not Alone.” The song begins with the eerie sound of a dramatic synth, before launching into a psychedelic melody accompanied by a resounding electric guitar. Throughout the song, the vocalist sings mysteriously, “You won’t see me / Right behind you,” starting the album off with a chilling bang. 

The second song on the album is “Contact” – their February single – which is accompanied by a mind-bending music video. Following the direction of “Not Alone,” this song is equally otherworldly, yet holds more of an upbeat energy than its predecessor.

The video begins with a shot of the band in an intense smoky red cloud, which quickly flashes to a scene of hazy blue. Once the beat kicks in, we see the four surrounding a futuristic electronic machine, which is presumably a device to connect with other beings, as the lyrics screech “Is someone out there?” The video ends with flashing clips of the members convulsing, as the image of a faceless being is illuminated upon the screen. 


Another notable song, and currently the second most popular according to Spotify streams, is the seventh track, “Navigator.” This track highlights the use of catchy chords and their signature guitar tones, and has a similar upbeat energy to “Contact,” although the song holds a moodier overall flow. The song still contains a sense of deep intense psychedelic energy, a sonic stamp of Astral Hand’s work. 

Finally, the album closes with the mighty “God Emperor.” The ender begins with a mellow electronic beat, but later launches into a chaotic stream of headbang-inducing vocals. The song overall speaks of a higher power and transcendence, as the singer sings, “I would transform into something more,” to close out the album. 

As a whole, Lords of Data is a complex and exhilarating psychedelic headbanger with layers of cosmic energy that suits most any heavy psych-rock fan.

Photo by Nathanial Schmidt

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