Krel, "Ad Astra" (Dead Earnest) Krel seems to be the brainchild of one keyboardist / guitarist known only as "Martin." According to what I've read on the Internet, they've played live (I'm assuming with more members) with Hawkwind and the Ozric Tentacles. This makes perfect sense considering the band's music - ambient synthesizers, astronaut sound samples, and hard-rocking jams. To me, there's not a whole lot here that you won't get from an Ozrics or Hawkwind record, but those records don't do too much for me in the first place. I expect that those into those kind of bands will really dig this release. There also seems to be a Pink Floyd kinda vibe on some tracks like "Sight Land," reminding me a little of Porcupine Tree (though I think Porcupine Tree put more of their individual stamp on their music). One thing that can be said about Krel though is that the band is particularly adept at both the spacey ambience style and the hard rock Hawkwind-like style. They usually keep either extreme from sounding forced (though the blatant Hawkwind rip-off "Satellites" seems a little forced in its use of one of the standard blues rhythm guitar patterns) and can intelligently link the two types of sections. I think this is primary a genre release with little appeal for people who already know they don't like Hawkwind / Ozrics space-rock. It'll probably delight quite a few of the converted, though. ~ Adam Murphree
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