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From the Great Beyond

by The Grand Astoria

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vinni63 thumbnail
vinni63 I met them by buying A Mighty Few, I liked them immediately, I started to follow them and buy their discography. I hope to see them Live in Italy soon.
dan0san thumbnail
dan0san This whole is one hell of a ride, is heavy, acoustic, melodic and . Is a trip to the unknow, the devil was never this kind to me before. Favorite track: Njanatiloka.
TheEliteExtremophile thumbnail
TheEliteExtremophile Folky acoustic guitars and banjo mesh effortlessly with the astral atmosphere of the title track, and the 10-minute “Njanatiloka” showcases the band’s strength at blending stoner metal with complex prog riffs and arrangements.

Full review here:
666 thumbnail
666 new psychedelic art metal epic from Kam and Co against that crazy world Favorite track: Us Against the World.
Pascal Thiel
Pascal Thiel thumbnail
Pascal Thiel Review at DisAgreement Online

This record gives a great and varied impression of what this band can accomplish! Psychedelci rock rarely sounds more refreshing. Favorite track: Us Against the World.
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

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Welcome home from the Great Beyond Last night the darkness spoke to me And thus I suddenly realized There are moments you can't trust your eyes And from the depths of down below Somebody whispered - welcome home To hidden corners of your mind Last night the silence spoke to me That really caught me by surprise Not sure I'll ever trust my ears Again from depth of down below Some voice had whispered - welcome home To blackest corners of your heart Mirror mirror on the wall Who's got the darkest soul of all? Who can scare the shit out of this world? I'm the one they call the Lord I'm the one they call in need I'm their only friend indeed Joy or sorrow, I'm around Oh, who's that guy they crucified?
Wasteland 02:51
Grey wuthering clouds All over my land In the eye of the storm The feast of the damned Now all that I loved Is ripped into shreds And everyone living Will envy the dead Right on the horizon Just fire and smoke I walk through the ashes And try not to choke Black rain on my fingers Black tears in my eyes How could we let in This beast in disguise
Njanatiloka 10:18
Black heat, strong wind The man is standing still He knows, he sees his destiny quite clear It's there, above Where clouds touch the sky He's calm, he smiles All worries left behind Tell me there's no truth or lies Ancient wisdom sets your spirit free Knowledge heals the troubled mind So easily Behind his back A shadow of a man He holds the gun and says it's for defense But then - a shot And lifeless body falls Inside the room Just one left standing tall Back in time when Earth was wild and free We lived as the giant family Now we're split and so preoccupied One man cries, the other hides his eyes
Lyrics by Kamille Sharapodinov
Anyhow 04:23
Cry yourself a river Make yourself at home Candles that you lit they don't burn Get under the blanket From your head to toes Wrap up and scream into your pillow But once you were a baby Little did you know Life looked like a joyful playground Recollect those memories Step outside the room And the new day hurts no more anyhow


New EP review by Pascal Thiel:
"Where should I start with The Grand Astoria from Saint Petersburg? The band was founded in 2009, and since then has released six longplayers and countless EPs, singles, splits etc. On their Bandcamp page alone, you can purchase nearly thirty different outputs. Their newest is From The Great Beyond, which at a little over half an hour can be considered either a short longplayer or a long EP.

The Grand Astoria play psychedelic fuzz rock which has always been open to other genres, like heavy metal, stoner, progressive rock and possibly much more. They also often work with a lot of guest musicians, which also adds timbre and flair to their music. On this new album, we most notably hear iamthemorning’s Gleb Kolyadin whose stellar reputation is no longer confined to Russia alone.

From The Great Beyond starts with its five minute long title track. First you hear an acoustic guitar (and there is no electric guitar on this piece), then the band adds trippy synth textures before the conjuring chorus follows. The vocals are hoarse and melodic, making this some kind of occult masterpiece in the vein of Black Widow’s Come To The Sabbat, in a way that it shows that you don’t need to be super-heavy to sound truly ominous. The song’s final section comes with a flute part that underlines the seventies influence. Up next is the three minute short Wasteland, a heavy rocking song with a repetitive "hey hey hey, hey hey hey yo" chorus that is meant to be catchy but ultimately lack the necessary spark to make it work. Nyanatiloka is at ten minutes the longest track, and starts as another heavy rock song with stoner touch and high vocals. The first half of the song continues like that, but the second one sees to band return to their psychedelic roots where they jam joyfully until the end of the track, proving once and for all that their psyche rock side is their forte.

Us Against The World is at eight and a half minutes another long track, and just like the preceding piece, it starts again like a high octane rocker before unpacking its charm only later on. The final section is a perfect exercise in eighties speed metal, with the high vocals reminding of a young Alan Tecchio (Hades, Watchtower...). Anyhow is like the opener a more acoustic minded track, at four and a half minutes rather concise, and taking advantage of Gleb Kolyadin’s great piano playing that sounds like coming straight from a Western saloon. The banjo part even underlines this impression. This is great fun and coming unexpectedly from a Russian band. The album ends with the two-minute short Ten Years Anniversary Riff, which is just that.

I prefer to think of From The Great Beyond as being a great and long EP, because as a full-length album, it is just too short and stylistically sometimes too much all over the place. This might be a flaw in a longplayer, but an EP should be something where artists can be more creative. More than once I felt reminded of Norwegian psychedelic kings Motorpsycho, so if you like them, you will also be in good hands with The Grand Astoria. If you are not yet familiar with these rocking Russians, you still have a lot to discover." premiere by Tony Ventura:
"Услышав первые звуки этого релиза я чуть не пустил скупую мужскую слезу, ведь сразу стало ясно, что дорогая сердцу классическая Astoria вернулась! Сразу вспомнился Punkadelia Supreme - взрыв эмоций (страшно подумать) семь лет назад, когда я поставил заветный диск в проигрыватель и меня разорвало на части от музыкального шквала происходящего. На новой записи немного попроще, но пусть вас не обманет открывашка "From the Great Beyond", постепенно дальше все начинается так как нужно.

Топ треки: Njanatiloka, Us Against the World"

German review by Matze van Bauseneick:
"Endlich wieder ein neues Album von The Grand Astoria! Okay, eher eine EP. Fünf Jahre nach „The Mighty Few”, und, na ja, den experimentellen Zwischenob- und –projekten „The Grand Astoria Meets The Finest Moscow Sound Explorers“, „Solo Instrument Concepts“, diversen Live-Bootlegs und EPs stellen die St. Petersburger mit „From The Great Beyond“ den nächsten Crossovermonolithen ins All. Crossover aber nicht zwischen Metal und Hip Hop, sondern auf Basis des spacigen Stonerrocks mit Progrock, Avantgarde, Folklore, Gospel und was das Herz sich sonst noch so ausmalen mag. The Grand Astoria treten ihre Reise durch diese Genres auf einem Fluss an, der sie fließend verbindet und nicht wie auf einem Ausflugsdampfer schlicht an Etappen vorbeischippert. Wobei dieser Fluss ein reißender ist, das Tempo ist irrwitzig und damit auch die Art und Weise, wie die Band was worauf folgen lässt, besser: was miteinander verbindet.

Man kann nur staunen. Diese Band hat alles drauf, was man sich vorstellen kann, und sie hat darüber hinaus auch noch Sachen drauf, die man sich nicht vorstellen kann. Da tanzen Flöten und Banjos um einen fröhlichen Artrocksong, da riffen sich Erinnerungen an Monster Magnet aus den Boxen, da komponiert die Band herum wie die Beach Boys im Classic-Rock-Radio. Staunen, tanzen, kopfnicken und glücklichsein.

Das Personal ist so opulent wie die Musik: Bandchef Kamille Sharapodinov spielt diverse Gitarren, singt und steuert Percussions bei, Danila Danilov singt und spielt Keyboards und Percussions, Alexander Vorontsov spielt Bass, Konstantin Smirnov Schlagzeug. Als Gäste dabei sind Keyoarder Gleb Kolyadin, die Gitarristen Igor Suvorov und Kirill Ildyukov, Flötist Denis Kirillov und Banjospieler Boris Shulman. So komplex, wie die Mucke ist, die diese Bande ersinnt, nimmt es nicht Wunder, dass sie etwas länger braucht, um etwas Neues zu kredenzen. Eine begeisternde EP." top 50 prog albums at #24
"The Grand Astoria considers their latest release to be an EP. Normally, I’m respectful of bands’ classifications of their releases, even if they’re much longer than the usual length of an EP. For example, the 60-minute Tulimyrsky from Moonsorrow is absolutely an EP, with its weirdly scattershot collection of covers and re-recordings. This 33-minute release, though, feels cohesive enough to be a short album, which is why I’ve placed it here, and not on my Top EPs list. Addressing the substance of this release, it’s a stellar slab of space-psych suffused with stoner spirit.

Folky acoustic guitars and banjo mesh effortlessly with the astral atmosphere of the title track, and the 10-minute “Njanatiloka” showcases the band’s strength at blending stoner metal with complex prog riffs and arrangements. This might be the band’s most explicitly spacey release yet, and it’s an angle which suits them well."

Portuguese review by Matheus Jacques:
"Diretamente do frio de São Petersburgo/Rússia, vem uma das mais criativas e versáteis sonoridades relacionadas de alguma forma ao Stoner dos últimos tempos. Bem, diria que aplicar o rótulo de Stoner seria uma limitação tremenda para uma banda que passeia por tantos caminhos, indo do Rock Progressivo ao Heavy Metal e passando por Hard Rock, Psicodelia, Blues, Punk, Doom Metal e Jazz. Tudo capitaneado pela mente deveras criativa do guitarrista e vocalista Kamille Sharapodinov, que junto ao seus camaradas entregou em doze anos, contando álbuns de estúdio, lives, e EP’s, nada menos que 29 trabalhos. Essa é a The Grand Astoria.

Formada em 2009, a banda lançou no mesmo ano seu álbum de estreia, batizado apenas de I. Dividido quase igualmente entre faixas instrumentais e outras com o vocal de Kamille, que de forma ainda aparentemente tímida parecia buscar a forma correta de se conectar com o instrumental, o material apresentava uma produção modesta e com alguns detalhes um pouco questionáveis, mas ainda assim exibia um potencial diferenciado com elementos criativos e uma evidente capacidade de se projetar adiante. Coisas que a maturidade traz… No ano seguinte, “II” já se mostrava ao mundo apresentando certa evolução e novos elementos, uma sequência notavelmente evoluída e prazerosa, contando até com nuances climáticas e atmosféricas que remetiam a bandas como Opeth e Alcest, além da mistura do Heavy Metal e Stoner Rock. E claro as já tradicionais e indispensáveis “jams” da banda, que nunca se furtou de dar a cada canção, por mais tempo que pudesse levar, o tempo necessário para desvelarem seus detalhes mais preciosos.

De forma quase que etérea e insondável, sempre coletando boas resenhas, críticas e apreciadores, mas sem maiores holofotes, a banda foi avançando nos anos seguintes entregando materiais variados, de EP’s a álbuns, com alguns picos de criatividade e outros momento talvez um pouco menos inspirados ou versáteis, mas ainda assim sem jamais deixar cair o nível, mantendo sempre uma identidade própria pulsante e a capacidade de cativar novos ouvintes e ainda manter os assíduos sob sua batuta. Entre os lançamentos, podem se destacar materiais como “Punkadelia Supreme” de 2013 (quarto álbum de estúdio, com 13 faixas e mais de 1:20h de duração, e a presença de instrumentos como sitar, metalofone, teclado e banjo) e “La Belle Epoque” (2014), este meu álbum favorito da banda e contendo uma das faixas que mais ouvi na vida, a absurda “Gravity Bong”, faixa que em minha humilde opinião algumas bandas consagradas adorariam ter composto.

De forma quase que etérea e insondável, sempre coletando boas resenhas, críticas e apreciadores, mas sem maiores holofotes, a banda foi avançando nos anos seguintes entregando materiais variados, de EP’s a álbuns, com alguns picos de criatividade e outros momento talvez um pouco menos inspirados ou versáteis, mas ainda assim sem jamais deixar cair o nível, mantendo sempre uma identidade própria pulsante e a capacidade de cativar novos ouvintes e ainda manter os assíduos sob sua batuta. Entre os lançamentos, podem se destacar materiais como Punkadelia Supreme de 2013 (quarto álbum de estúdio, com 13 faixas e mais de 1:20h de duração, e a presença de instrumentos como sitar, metalofone, teclado e banjo) e La Belle Epoque (2014), este meu álbum favorito da banda e contendo uma das faixas que mais ouvi na vida, a absurda Gravity Bong, faixa que em minha humilde opinião algumas bandas consagradas adorariam ter composto.

Iniciada com Kamille e Igor Suvorov (guitarra) em 2009, além de contar com Mike Lopakov (baixo) e Nick Kunavin (bateria), atualmente a formação fixa conta com Kamille, Igor, Konstantin Smirnov (bateria) e uma série de músicos convidados em cada material, possuindo a presença de instrumentos como os já citados metalofone, banjo e ainda flauta, percussão e outros, ajudando a tornar a sonoridade o mais particular e única possível, além de materiais acústicos. O último lançamento da banda é o atmosférico EP “From the Great Beyond” de 2020, uma pérola para apreciadores de Jazz Rock, Rock Progressivo e Psicodelia. E enquanto escrevo isso, felizmente eles talvez já estejam produzindo seu próximo material, que deve se encaixar na direta e sucinta definição de seu trabalho, “Jam Rock psicodélico fazendo sexo com Heavy Metal”. Obrigado pela atenção."

Russian review by Ivan Rozmainsky 8/10:
"А вот и новый релиз The Grand Astoria – петербургской группы под руководством композитора и гитариста Камиля Шараподинова. Вот уже более 10 лет ансамбль, в активе которого несколько сотен концертов в Европе и множество изданных полноформатных альбомов, синглов, сплитов и т. д., исполняет не поддающуюся классификации рок-музыку. Её можно назвать как смесью стоунера, прогрессива и психоделии, так и «психоделическим арт-металлом». Музыканты продолжают успешно рвать шаблоны, творить новые и интересные произведения.
Камиль Шараподинов, как обычно, поёт и играет на гитаре, его сопровождает техничная и мощная ритм-секция – барабанщик Константин Смирнов и басист Александр Воронцов, большую часть клавишных партий сыграл Глеб Колядин из Iamthemorning, а на втором треке играет звукорежиссёр альбома Данила Данилов. Также в записи участвовали Денис Кириллов (флейта) и Борис Шульман (банджо).
Шеститрековый “From the Great Beyond” длится чуть более 30 минут. Открывает его весьма убедительная титульная песня, она неожиданно обрывается и сменяется тяжёлой “Wasteland”, настраивающей слушателя на более мрачное звучание. В этом духе – и следующие треки, эпический 10-минутный “Njanatiloka” и “Us Against the World” чуть покороче. Металлические риффы, характерный высокий агрессивный вокал (кроме Камиля, поёт Данила Данилов). В этих песнях мы слышим меняющиеся ритмические рисунки и размеры, чередования тяжести и акустики, непредсказуемое композиционное развитие. Лучший, на мой взгляд, трек – предпоследний артово-психоделический “Anyhow” с мягким, обволакивающим звучанием, именно в нём звучат прекрасные партии флейты и банджо. Концентрация красоты и тайны. Наконец, коротенький инструментал “Ten Years Anniversary Riff” – явно не из лучших творений The Grand Astoria, но в качестве концовки он убедителен.
“From the Great Beyond” вряд ли сильно уступает полноформатному альбому “The Mighty Few” пятилетней давности, который стал для меня одним из лучших релизов 2015 года. Его можно считать очередным творческим достижением «Астории».

Рецензия опубликована в #92"

Hungarian review by Armand:
"A Kamille Sharapodinov (Legendary Flower Punk, Organic Is Ornagic, Slovo Mira) zenei ötletgazda vezette The Grand Astoria zenekart nyugodt szívvel nevezhetjük az orosz pszichedelikus heavy/stoner fuzzok nagymesterének. A zenekar 2009-es megalakulása óta, mondhatni évről-évre szédítő mennyiségű EP-t, lemezt és koncert anyagot adott ki. Igaz náluk inkább az EP-ken van a hangsúly, de az ő ötletességük, ha úgy tetszik zenei kirándulásaik, melyekben újabbnál újabb műfajokat (mint pl.: experimental rock, prog-rock, ambient, drone, folk, jazz, country, vagy a fekete blues, stb) ötvöznek a zenéjük alapjainak mondott masszív psychedelic heavy/stoner fuzz világával, tökéletes összképet mutatnak aktuális mikrokozmoszukból.

Nincs ez másként a tavaly november végén megjelent röpke 30 perces From the Great Beyond címet viselő legutóbbi EP-jük esetén sem. Címadó dalukat könnyed akusztikus gitárok és bendzsók nyitják, melyekhez egy kraut-rockos vonulattal keverednek az űrszerű kozmikus hangok, valamint a prog-jazz, az art-rock, és az art-pop játékos hangmintái melyek a dal végére egy különös sci-fi madrigállá állnak össze. Ezt az éteri atmoszférát az őt követő Wasteland rombolja szét zord gitárjaival és az egy XXI. századi sámánéneket, vagy inkább kántálását megelevenítő énektémájával. Az EP-n harmadiknak érkező Njanatiloka daluk egy bő 10 perces tömény, izmos riffelésű, akár modern metalosnak is mondható zúzdát kínál, amibe mesterien keverték a pszichedélia és a Santana-féle latin rock gitárszólóit, de hogy egy csavarás is legyen az egészen, még egy adagnyi a finomra hangolt prog-rock, afro-rock és a kortárs alter-metal hatásait is tettek hozzá. Egy igazi zenei kavalkádot, mitöbb, élmény orgazmust add ez a dal, melynek minden perce vibrál és dallamai folyamatosan változnak.

Az ezt követő majdnem hasonló hosszúságú Us Against the World dalukban még az előzően is túltesznek. Ez a dal komplex, merész és lendületes modern metalos hatásaival simán megállná a helyét a Faith No More, vagy a System Of A Down szerzeményei között is. Képzeljétek el, hogy folyamatosan zakatolnak, mennek a lendületes agyas riff-tekerések egyszer csak becsússzan alájuk egy ’70-es évekbeli hard rockos Hammond orgona-hatás, amiből aztán elemi erővel robban ki egy a Mastodon “Emperor of Sand” lemezén hallott kozmikus prog-metal rombolás… áhhh… ez totál káosz, de nagyon élvezetes. Totál fel vagy pörögve, várod a következő zúzda dalt, de helyette egy nyugis hangulatú, a szerről lepörgető tétel jön az Anyhow képében. Azért ennek a dalnak is meg vannak a maga szépségei. A bőséges, álomszerű fuvolahangjai Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) fuvolajátékát és énekdallamit jutatják az eszembe, amihez egy múlt század eleji gépzongora és kellemes westernes ízű bendzsós dallamcsokor csatlakozik. A zárásnak érkező közel két perces vadabb ritmusú Ten Years Anniversary Riff megint csak a srácok ötletességét domborítja ki és egyfajta rövidke, de annál esszenciálisabb masszába foglalja össze az EP erejét.

Mi is ez… egy eszelős pszichedelikus fuzz rockot orgia, amit a tőlük megszokott igényességgel, (csak magamat ismétlem) ötletességgel és legfőbbként hatalmas kreativitással tálaltak. Zenéjük, illetve a műfaj kedvelőinek biztos nem okoznak csalódást. Aki pedig még nem ismerné őket, bátran próbálkozzon a bandcamp oldalukon fellelhető bármely anyagukkal."

Italian and English versions of review:

Dutch review by Henk Vereecken:
"Psychedelic jam rock having sex with heavy metal’. The Grand Astoria’s eigen plastische beschrijving van hun muzikale output op hun Bandcamp pagina kan geen enkele muziekjournalist overtreffen. Hij kan het wel simpelweg stonerrock noemen. Dat is ook juist, maar spreekt wat minder tot de verbeelding.

The Grand Astoria werd opgericht in 2009 in Sint-Petersburg (het vroegere Leningrad voor de oudere jongeren) en ze hebben al zes albums op hun actief, naast een ganse reeks EP’s, singles, splits enzovoort. Er bestaat zelfs een rariteit op 100 exemplaren op cd-r getiteld “Rat Race In Belgium”. Het verscheen in 2014 in een box met twee stickers, een magneet en een t-shirt en werd live opgenomen op het Yellowstock festival in Geel (ik was daar!) in augustus 2012. Het is een bootleg maar hij staat gewoon tussen de 30 officiële releases op hun Bandcamp pagina. Van The Grand Astoria besprak Dark Entries in het verleden reeds een split met Montenegro.

Op het Russische underground (No Name) / Addicted label verscheen zopas een nieuwe EP van deze mannen: “From The Great Beyond (EP)” (6 tracks, 32 minuten speelduur).

Kamille Sharapodinov, de zanger-gitarist van The Grand Astoria zit ook in de band met de veelzeggende naam The Legendary Flower Punk, ook geen onbekenden van Dark Entries.

De nieuwe EP (met zijn 32 minuten eerder een mini-album) opent met de titeltrack “From The Great Beyond”, een rustig nummer om te beginnen. Met akoestisch gitaarspel, spacey synths en mooie psychedelische zang. Dan wordt het wat zwaarder en volgt met “Wasteland” een stomende en groovy psychedelische stonertrack. De echoënde vocals (hier een soort sjamanenkreten) en zweverige keyboards hebben beide songs wel met elkaar gemeen.

The Grand Astoria zijn dus allerminst vies van een fikse dosis psych en prog in hun sound. Zelfs etnisch getinte zang zit er in. Luister maar eens naar “Njanatiloka” (met zijn 10 minuten ook de langste compositie) waar al deze genoemde elementen in zitten met fluitspel en met vocals als van chantende stamleden. Het nummer begint met een metal getinte gitaarriff maar stuitert dra alle kanten op.

Cheesy keyboardklanken (eerst orgel met enig acid rock Steppenwolf-gehalte, later meer spacey synths) en Sweet-achtige falsetstemmetjes krijgen we te horen in “Us Against The World” met stevige gitaren naast ook een rustiger akoestische stukje. De dynamiek in de nummers van The Grand Astoria houdt het luisteren continu boeiend. In de ruigste stukken doen ze me trouwens wel denken aan de Canadese psychedelische metalband VoiVod.

“Anyhow” is het tweede nummer met fluit en hier klinken The Grand Astoria het meest als een jammende psych/prog/kraut band uit de sixties. Met de fluit heeft het zelfs iets Jethro Tull en het banjospel geeft het een (alt)country toets. Hier doen ze me de denken aan de sixties band Kaleidoscope (de Amerikaanse Kaleidoscope wel te verstaan).

Ook enorm leuke afsluiter is de korte nog geen twee minuten durende instrumentale slottrack “Ten Years Anniversary Riff”. Geen betere manier om 10 jaar The Grand Astoria te vieren dan met deze enorm groovy riff met hoog oorwurmgehalte.

Sterke lyrics ook bij deze Russen. Meerdere songs zijn behoorlijk occult van aard. Schitterend vind ik de laatste paragraaf van de titelsong: ‘Mirror mirror on the wall / who’s got the darkest soul of all? / Who can share the shit out of this world? / I’m the one they call the Lord. / I’m the one they call in need. / I’m their only friend indeed. / Joy or sorrow, I’m around. / Oh, who’s that guy they crucified?’.

Mijn favoriete tekst is die van “Us Against The World”. Het begint met een soort ode aan de evolutie van het leven: ‘Dirt and slime / And the lowest forms of life / All as one under the stars / And the trip’s about to start / From the prehistoric ocean / So called king of universe / Spreads his tapestry of wonders / All across our Mother Earth’. Maar later in de song wordt belicht hoe de mens dit alles weeral moet kapotmaken (‘one by one the species disappear’) tot en met de atoombom. En er was nog zo gewaarschuwd: ‘Kill or kneel it’s up to you / But be careful with that choice’.

Deze EP is een aanrader voor de liefhebbers van genre overstijgende stonerrock, van heavy psych en aanverwanten. Ergens viel zelfs de term ‘psychedelic art metal’. We geven nog een extra pluim voor het prachtige artwork."

Italian review by Peppe Di Spirito:
"Poco più di mezz’ora di musica per il nuovo parto della band russa, che in un’abbondante discografia ha già dato ampia dimostrazione di eclettismo, riuscendo a passare con disinvoltura dallo stoner alla psichedelia, dall’hard-rock al blues, con una serie di contaminazioni che possono stuzzicare l’interesse di chi ama certi incroci stilistici. Nell’EP “From the great beyond”, il deus ex machina dei Grand Astoria Kamille Sharapodinov, impegnato alle chitarre, alle parti vocali e alle percussioni, si contorna di un ampio numero di collaboratori e ci presenta sei nuovi brani. La partenza affidata alla title-track è una sorta di folk-rock inquieto, che trasmette tensione e che ha una sorprendente e breve parentesi dai toni jazzistici, prima di un finale asfissiante che potrebbe portare alla mente i Black Widow. Con i due minuti di “Wasteland” si comincia a spingere sull’acceleratore, il sound si fa più duro e psichedelico, ma è con “Njanatiloka” che c’è l’esplosione stoner, in cui i Grand Astoria sembrano trovarsi particolarmente a loro agio. Negli oltre dieci minuti di questa traccia troviamo un turbinio di ritmi robusti e chitarre ruvide, con la voce potente che si inserisce alla perfezione in questo contento. Nella prima metà del brano i Faith No More non sono così lontani, nella seconda metà i musicisti si abbandonano ad una sorta di jam allucinata dalla dimensione più onirica (spuntano anche un flauto e le tastiere suonate da Gleb Kolyadin). A seguire, un altro pezzo di lunga durata, oltre gli otto minuti, “Us against the world” che spara colpi a tutta raffica ed è tiratissimo, salvo qualche lieve deviazione psichedelica. Si va verso il finale e troviamo dapprima “Anyhow”, con il suo andamento acustico curiosamente a cavallo tra folk e bluegrass e con flauto, pianoforte e banjo in bella mostra; poi “Ten years anniversary riff”, dove è appunto un riff vibrante di chitarra ad essere protagonista per due minuti su ritmi sostenuti e doppiato da un’altra chitarra che viaggia in più direzioni. Che dire in conclusione? Possiamo solo ribadire l’ammirevole capacità di questa band di saltare abilmente da un genere ad un altro, mostrando predilezione per lo stoner. La vena prog dei Grand Astoria si vede principalmente nelle commistioni che operano e possiamo consigliarli a chi ama le sonorità heavy inframezzate da digressioni inaspettate." review by Dmitry Sakharov:
"Next to the neighboring St Petersburg Russia, welcome home from the great beyond! This is an interesting act half acoustic and half electric, experimental and surprising.

Mainly guitar-based, the compositions allow all instruments to sound organically. Even the flute and banjo parties take place. Well, how could powerful “Us Against the World” join airy and fragile “Anyhow”? You’ll surely get your answer after you’ll listen to whole album."

+ Russian:
"Перебираемся в наш родной Питер, но блендер не выключаем. Перед нами – прошлогодняя работа коллектива, к которому точно стоит прислушаться. Если вы еще не дегустировали, меню от The Grand Astoria пестрит неожиданной экзотикой."

French review by Philippe Thirionet:
"Retour donc de la formation russe originaire de Saint-Pétersbourg The Grand Astoria, dont je vous avais déjà parlé lors de la réception d’un premier colis envoyé tout droit de Russie via le label Noname666/Noname Recordz et voilà que, m’arrive un second colis avec à nouveau de nombreuses galettes dont celle qui est à l’honneur dans ses lignes. Je suppose donc que l’auditeur va se replonger dans un univers hétérogène et multiple-couleurs où, les courants musicaux s’entrecroisent au sein d’une conception d’avant-garde et expérimentale allant d’une ballade acoustique à une composition plus musclée tirant vers le doom-métal et le psychédélisme voir le stoner-rock !

Preuve s’il en est avec ces deux extraits reprenant les deux premières compositions, deux facettes distinctes reprenant les styles cités plus haut :

Une alternance d’ambiances ou d’atmosphères que l’on retrouve tout au long de l’album avec plus loin, un nouveau saut ou plutôt un grand écart entre un morceau lourd proche du stoner ou du rock-psychédélique et, une nouvelle ballade acoustique. Tout en sachant que la répartition des genres semble être un peu plus tournée vers le poussif et le lourd puisque, 4 compositions sur 6 sont imprégnées d’un rock-psychédélique ou d’un stoner-rock bien senti ! Mais bon chacun se fera sa propre opinion en découvrant l’entièreté de l’album par le biais du lien ci-dessous :" review by Nick Hudson:
"Whoa! I can’t believe I’ve gone all this time without being aware of the wonder of Russian band The Grand Astoria, a band that has put out a dizzying array of singles, EPs and albums since 2009, with their own unique take on many different musical sounds and styles – even a song sung in Kobaïan, and a series of (literally) solo pieces inspired by Roscoe Mitchell. The band seems to have a revolving carousel of members, with the only constant being the musical mastermind Kamille Sharapodinov. The only other long-standing members I can discern are Igor Suvorov and Danila Danilov. Of particular interest to some, I’m sure, will be the presence of Gleb Kolyadin (of iamthemorning) on this release. I would love to get inside Kamille’s mind and see what makes it tick, but in the meantime, listening to The Grand Astoria will do very nicely. I’m slowly working my way through their discography, after being introduced to the band by From the Great Beyond.

So what do The Grand Astoria sound like? Well, based on what I’ve listened to so far, there’s very little consistency in their sound at all – and that is no criticism. Indeed, to the contrary, I love not knowing what to expect next from the band. There’s not yet been an unpleasant surprise. I guess you could call the band psychedelic, as psychedelia does seem to pervade the great majority of their work – but very rarely in the same guise. The journeys may be similar, but every trip is different. From The Great Beyond was potentially a good starting point for me as it definitely eased me into their world of weirdness.

The opening title track welcomed me to their home, and continues to do so. It’s almost a spacey prog version of Violent Femmes, with its vocal and percussive acrobatics and sparse minimal feel. The clean sound disappears in a wave of fuzz as Wasteland follows. The percussion is heavier and darker, the chanting hypnotic and shamanic. Waves of Tangerine and Pink float over the rhythmic barrage, and now there’s the galloping riffy intro to Njanatiloka, like a psychedelic Iron Maiden, before erupting into something more like Black Sabbath, and that’s just the beginning. It jumps all over the place over its ten or so minutes and is easily my favourite track here. However, while I’m mentioning names, realistically The Grand Astoria doesn’t really sound like any of these. It’s just an attempt to show how nimbly the band leaps from one sound to another. So let’s add some more. How about Queen and Chrome Hoof?

Like many Russian bands I’ve encountered, The Grand Astoria seem to draw influences from the East as much as the West, which only adds to the eclecticism of their sound. I am kind of reminded of Faith No More or System Of A Down, not in sound, more in the way that the band so fluidly experiments with sound impulsively and indulgently, without it ever sounding overwrought or overindulgent. The way that they translate their experimental tendencies into something quite melodic, and verging upon mainstream despite very definitely coming from the fringes. The way that they subvert their instrumentation and approach their music from unexpected directions. Interestingly, I tend to be mentioning names that are not normally the ones that might come to mind as prog (though if you think they’re not progressive, I’m not sure what you’re hearing).

By the time Anyhow hits with its unlikely jazz-cum-bluegrass fusion, if you’re not ready to expect the unexpected and expect to enjoy it, then The Grand Astoria is not the band for you. Again, I have to reiterate how well they play with the various styles, so no matter how disparate they might seem, they never feel disjointed. The Grand Astoria takes their listeners on a series of ambitious adventures to the Great Beyond, but for sure always returns them and welcomes them back home. The band manages to pack a lot of punch into any track, no matter the length, and not one of the longer tracks ever feels too long. This is perhaps unsurprising when you consider the wonderful The Mighty Few album which comprised only two tracks in its fifty minute duration – both of which are incredible in their pacing and structure, revealing many intricacies and leaving no room for attention to wander.

The track lengths may be considerably shorter on From The Great Beyond (it is an EP, after all), but the multitude of ever-changing sounds and textures are still present – and still not one ever feels extraneous or forced. Listening to The Grand Astoria from their beginnings really reveals how far the band has travelled to reach this point. While I don’t think I could ever call them a stereotypical stoner band, their debut does reveal the band started out closer to those desert (or perhaps tundra) horizons. But the depth and breadth they have traversed since is quite astounding. A lot of the heavier moments still lean towards doom (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but some of their composition is almost classical in nature, and this interplays with improvisation (or, at least, a lot of the music sounds joyfully spontaneous). They flirt with jazz, blues and funk, the only constant is the psychedelia – which, as I pointed out earlier, does not present itself in the same way, meaning even the only constant is not particularly constant.

It’s possibly worth stating that while the band call From The Great Beyond an EP (because they believe it not long enough to call an album, in the context of their discography), their label (Addicted/No Name), considers it a full length album. Personally, I don’t really care, so long as the music is good, and damn, this is good music. The only difference it would really make to me at this point of the year is that as much as I love it, I might struggle to find room for it in my list of favourite albums of 2020. However, if I call it an EP, it’s a sure fire contender for the top spot. Whatever you want to call it, this is a fantastic release that is worthy of your attention. It almost passed me by – don’t let it pass you by!"

Italian review by Francesco Scarci:
"Da San Pietroburgo arriva un quintetto (ma in realtà si tratta di un grande collettivo di musicisti) che di strada ne ha fatta parecchia dalla loro fondazione, risalente ormai al lontano 2009. Si chiamano The Grand Astoria e propongono una mistura di hard rock psichedelico contaminato da influenze folk jazz. Il loro nuovo EP, 'From the Great Beyond', si apre con l'acustica folkish della title track che rappresenta il biglietto da visita dei nostri. A fronte di un incipit tranquillo, la song prende lentamente forma in una progressione crescente che ha quasi del sorprendente, tra cori un pochino ruffiani, accelerazioni ritmiche e strappi jazzistici. Non proprio il mio genere preferito, ma devo ammettere che l'ascolto mi ha intrigato non poco. "Wasteland" attacca in modo apparentemente più elettrico, con chitarra e una voce evocativa in primo piano. Con piglio ancestrale, segue a ruota una musicalità quasi da tribù indiana e poi ecco delle tastiere super psichedeliche che entrano nella testa e da lì faticheranno ad uscire. Con la lunghissima "Njanatiloka" (oltre 10 minuti), l'impressione è di aver a che fare con la controfigura dei Black Sabbath, sia a livello vocale per le reminiscenze "ozziane" del vocalist, che per un apparato ritmico bello compatto che all'altezza del quarto minuto, evolverà in lisergiche e deliranti divagazioni psych rock, con tanto di un fantastico assolo incorporato, sia di chitarra che di flauto. Poi si va verso un'anarchia musicale, quella tipica delle jam session con gli strumenti che viaggiano verso molteplici direzioni e suggestioni, e che non potranno non conquistarvi. Un altro riffone apre "Us Against the World" e qui mi sembra di cogliere delle influenze canore abbastanza graffianti, che mi portano invece ai Faith No More. Analogamente, la musica si presenta bella imprevedibile con schegge ritmiche che all'inizio di questo viaggio, dubitavo fortemente di riuscire ad ascoltare in questo album. E invece i nostri ruggiscono alla grande con riffing tirati e ammiccamenti psych. Gli stessi rff scompaiono nella successiva "Anyhow", un pezzo a cavallo tra il prog dei Jethro Tull, il folk, i The Doors, il jazz e pure il country (vista la presenza di un banjo nella struttura della song), in un melting pot, il cui risultato è davvero particolare. In chiusura i quasi due minuti roboanti della stoneriana e strumentale "Ten Years Anniversary Riff", che vibra tesa nell'aria come una stoccata di sciabola. Da ascoltare.

Voto: 74" review by Ed Pinsent:
"The Grand Astoria are another St Petersburg band…hard to categorise From The Great Beyond (NONAME666 770), a six-track item of songs and instrumentals written and performed by Kamille Sharapodinov and made with the help of a large crew of collaborators and performers. In just six songs they touch on many musical styles, one moment wallowing in heavy-metal guitar histrionics like Slayer, the next moment soaring away on multi-layered space-prog epic voyages, with tasteful keyboard flourishes and flute-drive interludes. Sharapodinov may turn out to be a man with a vision equal to that of Richard Pinhas crossed with Jon Anderson, and this album may grow on you if you can get past its rather self-important tone, its overwrought and melodramatic presentation, and its restless genre-hopping." review by Kev Rowland:
"There are times when one is sent an album, after it is played the only reaction is "how on earth am I going to describe that?". The Grand Astoria are a Russian band who describe their music as "Psychedelic jam rock having sex with heavy metal". Not too sure about the sex or metal, but add in blues, punk, Mars Volta, Pink Floyd, 90's neo-prog with 70's King Crimson and VDGG plus a warped sense of humour then you might just get close. Looking at their Bandcamp page reveals more than 30 releases, the vast majority of which are full albums, so these guys are nothing if not prolific, and they have released another studio album since this one came out in 2020.

There is an energy and enthusiasm in this which is infectious, and unlike many releases on this label, many of the lyrics are in English which makes it more approachable for some (the language never bothers me). At times they sound like they are going to Americana with picked guitar but then they shoot off at tangents so one never knows what they are going to do next. Musically they seem to have no boundaries whatsoever, yet whatever they are segueing into or blending together somehow makes sense and the result is adventurous and quite unlike other bands in the scene. Some groups tend to take one band as a starting point and then move from there, but I have no idea where these guys are coming from as it is such a mixed midden of sound. Dirty and distorted in some places, clean and airy in others, this is eclectic yet somehow more mainstream than one might imagine.

With such a huge back catalogue they can be quite a daunting prospect to investigate but why not start with this one and then go from there. Progheads will find much in here to enjoy."


released November 30, 2020

Kamille Sharapodinov — lead, rhythm & acoustic guitars, lead & backing vocals, percussion, music & lyrics
Danila Danilov — lead & backing vocals, percussion, keyboards (2), recording & editing
Alexander Vorontsov — bass
Konstantin Smirnov — drums
Gleb Kolyadin — keyboards (1,3,4,5)
Igor Suvorov — lead guitar (3)
Kirill Ildyukov — lead guitar (4)
Denis Kirillov — flute (3,5)
Boris Shulman — banjo (5), backing vocals (1,5)
Sophia Miroedova — artwork

Recorded by Danila Danilov in Red Wave Studio (St. Petersburg)
Mixed and Mastered by Nick Samarin in Orange Studio (Moscow)

Written by Kamille Sharapodinov
Arrangements by all the parties involved.

addicted label:
cat#: 770 UPC 789554070515 - smart url

CD release date: 1/30/2021




The Grand Astoria Saint Petersburg, Russia

Psychedelic jam rock having sex with heavy metal

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