Album Reviews

Astral Construct: ‘Traveling A Higher Consciousness’ Album Review

“There’s perhaps no better instrumental space rocker in the music underground today than Astral Construct.” That’s from the great Nick Pipitone of The Third Eye in an Instagram post promoting his interview with Drew Patricks of Astral Construct.

I would say I have to agree. As much as I’m trying to strip the superlatives out of my writing, Drew Patricks is brilliant, and he offers a new, unexpected vision of what Space Rock can be. 

We saw that on his debut, Tales of Cosmic Journeys. There, Patricks demonstrated the full potential range of Space Rock, offering unique guitar tones, mysterious interludes, heavy jams, and cosmic storytelling through instrumental sound. 

As if that wasn’t enough, we watched his sound grow even bigger through his one-off project with Aiwass—a hard-driving, psychedelic single called “Solis In Stellis,” which premiered here on Monster Riff and supported the Scleroderma Foundation. Check it out:

Patricks has once again outdone himself. With the upcoming release of Traveling A Higher Consciousness, Patricks is making his mark on the entire Space Rock subgenre.

About Astral Construct

Astral Construct is a Colorado Springs-based solo project from musician Drew Patricks. 

Instead of giving you a history of the project, I’ll let Patricks explain it himself, using his recent Instagram post:

Also worth noting: Traveling A Higher Consciousness was mastered by Tony Reed of Mos Generator fame. 

Astral Construct’s Traveling A Higher Consciousness Album Review

Tracks: 5
Length: 35:47
Release Date: August 25, 2023
Label: Self-Released

Track 1: Heart of the Nebula

“Heart of the Nebula” is a captivating opener, rocketing between brutal riffs and beautiful, ethereal soundscapes. There’s a beautiful pseudo-Shoegaze offering additional texture beneath the sonic tapestry, and the result is a complex extension of the Astral Construct debut of Tales of Cosmic Journeys—keeping us rooted in Patricks’ signature Space Rock, but adding new tones and techniques that will leave you spellbound. 

Track 2: Accessing the Mind’s Eye

I don’t think we’ll ever get a straightforward rocker from Astral Construct, but “Accessing the Mind’s Eye” gets close (at some points). Although track two does offer rich guitar exploration in the introduction, this song eventually gets moving. There’s a wonderful jam section around 4:00 where everything simply clicks. The drums go wild, the guitars churn, and that lead screeches in beautiful ecstasy. Although “Accessing the Mind’s Eye” is certainly accessible, it still retains that sense of mystery that permeates so much of Astral Construct’s sound.

Track 3: The Traveler 

Like “Accessing the Mind’s Eye,” “The Traveler” is another big rocker—in that patented Astral Construct way. You’ll find the full cosmic expanse of space here, but you’ll also get wrapped into pummeling drums, unpredictable guitar solos, and guitars that roar like afterburners. 

Track 4: Long View of Astral Consciousness

After that gloomy intro, “Long View of Astral Consciousness” transports the listener back and forth from exploring mysterious, far-off plants to drifting by brilliant, illuminated galaxies. When this song is moving, it’s absolutely compelling, and its storytelling here is as strong as anything from Tales of Cosmic Journeys.

Track 5: Interstellar

Dark and dreary, “Interstellar” kicks off with one massive chord after another, letting each terrifying collection of notes ride out like a twisted Space Doom song. This is one track with a massive build, and every measure seems to increase the song’s intensity.

Final Thoughts On Traveling A Higher Consciousness

Final Score: 9/10

Standout Tracks: “Accessing the Mind’s Eye” and “Interstellar” 

Pros: 2021’s Tales of Cosmic Journeys was an incredibly complex album, but Traveling A Higher Consciousness is somehow even bigger and bolder. 

Tracks like “Accessing the Mind’s Eye” demonstrate a keen ability to slip a few hooks into the Astral Construct tapestry, while “Interstellar” shows this is an album that can get heavy

Astral Construct is one project to keep an eye on. As a solo artist, Drew Patricks has established himself as an electrifying musician, and his vision for what Space Rock can be pushes the subgenre into uncharted territories. 

Cons: Traveling A Higher Consciousness goes a step beyond the strengths and ambitions of Tales of Cosmic Journeys, but I still wanted a few extra anchor points to help keep myself grounded through the listening experience. There’s a lot going on here, and an extra hook here and there would have carried us through the album a little better.

As an extension of that, I will say Patricks has now proven twice that vocals aren’t necessary when the songwriting responsibilities are in his hand—but I still missed them. “Solis In Stellis” provided a glimpse of what Astral Construct could sound like with vocals, and it was good! 

Still, it’s inappropriate to pressure an instrumental project into switching teams. Patricks does a phenomenal job crafting tracks for instrumental lovers—and they’re going to love this one. Plus, he’s already explained himself in the past:

Learn More About Astral Construct

To learn more about Astral Construct, follow the project on Bandcamp, Facebook, or Instagram.

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