Now, bear with me here; my adoration for all things shadowy and subterranean, coupled with a relentless appetite for the realms of science fiction, pretty much guarantees that the latest opus from Black Rose Burning is nestled securely in my heart. But you, my dear readers, expect more from this humble servant than just a mere proclamation of love, and rightly so. So, without further ado…
Let’s set the scene, shall we? Back in the day, my youthful self found solace in the embrace of the more overt gothic bands and the pulp wonders of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Michael Moorcock. Yet, as the sands of time trickle through the hourglass, my refined palate now seeks nourishment from the pens of Banks, Mieville, and Murakami and with bands like Black Rose Burning stoking those same fires of longing.
Enter Ad Astra, a celestial collision between the cosmic and the musical, a marriage of Gothic echoes, the weight of rock, the allure of pop hooks, and the evocative futurism that, even after all this time, synths still hold the keys to. Here, the notion unfurls that as we drive our beloved Earth to its inevitable demise, our thoughts wander toward the beckoning stars above, pondering the enigmatic life that awaits us in the vast expanse beyond.
As songs like “Think Too Much” display, Black Rose Burning is able to win favor in many quarters, from the harder and heavier fraternity to the dance divas of the nighttime clubland, from chart-focused pop pickers to the more proggy inclined, and from the denizens of the night to those who merely know a good thing when they hear it. “Fight” is anthemic and cinematic, “Night Terrors” shaded and full of menace, and “Becoming the Machine” a suitably industrial death disco dirge.
The title is taken from the Latin phrase Ad Astra Per Aspera (to the stars through difficulties), and even though George Grant and the gang are far too modest to have considered such a title, if it were put to a public vote, I would have offered up Sonus Futurorum – for this is indeed an example of the sound of things to come!