Sunday, August 18, 2013

God Is An Astronaut - All Is Violent, All Is Bright

God Is An Astronaut is a fantastic name for a band. 

God Is An Astronaut is an electronic instrumental guitar band started by Irish twins Torsten and Niels Kinsellam. The Kinsella brothers got the name from a quote from the 1990 film Nightbreed:

“Everything is true. God is an astronaut, Oz is over the rainbow, and Midian is where monsters live.” – Nightbreed (1990)

The Kinsella twins formed God Is An Astronaut in 2002 and since that time they have had five studio albums:

“The End Of The Beginning” (2002)
“All Is Violent, All Is Bright” (2005)
“Far From Refuge” (2007)
“God Is An Astronaut” (2008)
“Age Of The Fifth Sun” (2010)

Every title of every album by God Is An Astronaut is very dramatic and this follows to their song titles as well. With tracks like “A Moment of Stillness,” “Forever Lost,” “Suicide By Star,” “Ascend to Oblivion,” and “Fall From The Stars” dramatic intensity is strongly suggested. I suppose when lyrics are forgone, a song title can be just about anything since no subject matter or verse of chorus need be reference, still the powerful dramatics presented to us through the sounds of excited guitar, keyboard and drums in God Is An Astronaut’s songs likely deserve titles of such grandeur. If nothing else the men behind God Is An Astronaut are excellent at naming things, including my favorite title and song “All Is Violent, All Is Bright.”

When I first heard God Is An Astronaut I thought they might have been Ireland’s answer to Maybeshewill, but after learning that God Is An Astronaut debuted three years earlier than Maybeshewill perhaps it is possible that Maybeshewill is England’s answer to God Is An Astronaut. The similarities in song creation between the two bands and final product of sound I believe warrant the comparison. Both Maybeshewill and God Is An Astronaut are very electric bands that make full use of keyboards to create the rhythm sections of their songs, both unapologetically use this produced music abundantly yet both still manage to be primarily guitar bands playing guitar music.

As stated so many times in the past I long songs that start slow and gradually escalate to large big sounds, this often creates something of story arc to the song, as it follows the classic rising action-climax-declining action methodology. Atmosphere is one of the strongest outstanding characteristics of songs like “All Is Violent, All Is Bright” and the rest of God Is An Astronaut’s repertoire, and a lot of the ambience is created through striking sounds being given dramatic introduction. Bands similar to God Is An Astronaut in this capacity are rarely purely instrumental bands. Being a purely instrumental band can be very detrimental to your commercial success because of the key elements in the refinement of pop music is having simple lyrics people can sing along too, without the casual listeners will not listen. So even bands similar to God Is An Astronaut are rarely purely instrumental, and perhaps because of this for several years recently God Is An Astronaut was considered one of the best instrumental bands in the world by many critics, yet like so many other unique bands God Is An Astronaut is largely unknown.

I love guitar music and there are few bands now a day’s whose primary focus in guitar and even fewer that qualify as guitar bands now a days. The works of God Is An Astronaut is the logical progression of the classic guitar style song writing. All of God Is An Astronaut songs are really good but my personal favorite is “All Is Violent, All Is Bright” it just strikes me as the most powerful in a long list of powerful songs; and what a great title too “All Is Violent, All Is Bright,” and god is an astronaut.

Until next month keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly King of Braves

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