Album Reviews

ASTRAL CONstruct: ‘Tales of Cosmic Journeys’ Album Review

Space Rock is one hell of a genre. Often combining the fuzzy riffing of Stoner Rock with the inventiveness of Psychedelic Rock, Space Rock offers a variety of unique, immersive soundscapes perfect for storytelling. 

That’s where Tales of Cosmic Journeys comes in. The debut album of the solo project ASTRAL CONstruct, Tales of Cosmic Journeys is a concept album that details the travels through a distant galaxy, starting with an awakening from cryo sleep. 

In ASTRAL CONstruct’s capable hands, the album offers a bouquet of fresh ideas, experimenting with unique tones to deliver an unforgettable experience.

This is a Psychedelic Space Rock delight—and one galactic adventure worth taking.

ASTRAL CONstruct - Tales of Cosmic Journeys album cover

About ASTRAL CONstruct

As a solo project, ASTRAL CONstruct is one man from Colorado Springs, Colorado: Drew Patricks. 

Tales of Cosmic Journeys was recorded and mixed entirely by Patricks, while the album was mastered by Kent Stump of Wo Fat at Crystal Clear Sound Studios in Dallas, Texas. 

The album was released on June 11, 2021. 

Tales of Cosmic Journeys Review

Tracks: 8
Length: 48:54

Track One: In Cryo

As our introduction, “In Cryo” sets the stage as a fantastical and mysterious experience. Here, you can picture the beams of starlight passing gently through your spaceship, all while the whirl of your computer chatters through the command center. “In Cryo” is short-lived, but it’s the calmest, prettiest experience in Tales of Cosmic Journeys

Track Two: Cosmos Perspective

“Cosmos Perspective” gives us our first taste of the true Tales of Cosmic Journeys experience. Shimmering yet tense, “Cosmos Perspective” is packed with movement, as if your spaceship was drifting through a mysterious world. “Cosmos Perspective” also demonstrates ASTRAL CONstruct’s ability to carefully layer guitars in a beautiful tapestry of fuzz and cosmic Space Rock. 

Track Three: Dust of a Thousand Cosmic Clouds

One of the great strengths within Tales of Cosmic Journeys is its experimentation with tone—that wonderful element so many musicians across the Stoner/Doom/Psych/Fuzz spectrum are obsessed with perfecting. In “Dust of a Thousand Cosmic Clouds,” ASTRAL CONstruct develops an absolutely heartbreaking fuzz-drench sound that delivers what is possibly the saddest song on all of Tales of Cosmic Journeys

Track Four: Chaos Terrain of the Ocean Moon

In another universe, “Chaos Terrain of the Ocean Moon” could have been played on the jukebox in dive bars for rowdy bikers. The song’s primary riff is packed with attitude, but it’s held firmly in ASTRAL CONstruct’s Space Rock/Psychedelic territory by its tone and lead guitar. Still, the occasional vibrato gives “Chaos Terrain of the Ocean Moon” a tinge of wild west attitude, and the song’s meaty riffs could be cranked even heavier in a different genre. 

Track Five: Jettisoned Adrift in the Space Debris

“Jettisoned Adrift in the Space Debris” gives ASTRAL CONstruct room to explore its more ethereal side, wrapping the lead guitar in soft, shimmering echoes. This is one album that strives to be as beautiful as the cosmos, and this is one song that meets that objective. Strap in and enjoy the ride. 

Track Six: Hand Against the Solar Winds

First of all, what a cool name! Solar winds, if you’re unaware, move between 250-750 kilometers per second (up to 1.67 million miles an hour). A hand against the solar winds is a vain effort at best, but we love the imagery here. 

Now, onto the song itself: “Hand Against the Solar Winds” opens with a bang, erupting into a massive wave of guitars. At a few points, you might hear some inspiration from Billy Corgan (think Siamese Dream and even Zwan, the short-lived supergroup). 

Track Seven: Spiral Galaxy

With the first few chords, “Spiral Galaxy” sounds like it’d be more comfortable on a Doom record than a Space Rock album. That notion is short-lived, however. Once the lead guitar and drums come through, “Spiral Galaxy” fits in with the rest of the album—a consequence of its thick, heavy chords being pushed into the background. Like “Dust of a Thousand Cosmic Clouds,” “Spiral Galaxy” is heartbreaking when you listen closely. 

Track Eight: Pillars of Creation – Return to Cryo

“Pillars of Creation – Return to Cryo” is the most unpredictable song on the album. While it starts with a dramatic, almost frantic opening, it eventually settles into its relatively-subdued primary theme. But that is eventually undone by a playful high-pitched guitar solo. 

As the name suggests, the final track on Tales of Cosmic Journeys returns to our opener, pulling the listener back into that same cosmic dreamwork as before. 

Final Thoughts

Score: 8.5/10

Standout Tracks: “Cosmos Perspective,” “Hand Against the Solar Winds,” and “Spiral Galaxy”

Pros: Tales of Cosmic Journeys is an ambitious debut marked by brilliant, unique guitar tones that blaze new ground in Space Rock. 

Even without a singer to guide the narrative, Patricks is a gifted storyteller, relying on instrumentation (and colorful song titles) to create powerful emotions and endless soundscapes vivid enough to draw pictures in your mind’s eye. 

In many ways, Tales of Cosmic Journeys is a guitar lover’s paradise, as Patricks flexes every creative muscle in his repertoire to deliver something as varied and beautiful as the night sky itself. 

Cons: Tales of Cosmic Journeys is a beautiful, breathtaking instrumental album in need of a vocalist. Yes, it carries itself well without one, and Drew Patricks’ guitar heroics are more than enough to carry each individual song.

But the songs themselves aren’t varied enough, and one seems to blend with the other. Even though Patricks is excellent at creating melody with his guitar, that proves to be no replacement for a talented vocalist who can help us differentiate between one song from the next. 

This isn’t entirely a vocalist issue, however. The typical song structure on Tales of Cosmic Journeys is nearly identical from one song to the next—and they tend to rest on a backdrop of individual fuzzy chords spaced apart by a couple of beats. 

The result: A long, spacey album that is stronger as a whole than it is individual pieces. 

Is that damning by itself? Not necessarily. There are plenty of albums out there intended to be digested in one sitting. But Tales of Cosmic Journeys has lost some of its appeal by the time we reach the end of “Pillars of Creation – Return to Cryo.”

Learn More About ASTRAL CONstruct

If you’d like to learn more about Drew Patricks’ ASTRAL CONstruct, check out the project on Bandcamp or Instagram.

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