God is an Astronaut is an Irish quartet that is probably best classified as Dark Ambient Metal. Helios|Erebus (Revive) is their eighth studio album. GIAA’s strength has always been intense soundscapes, which can be soothing even when completely filled with noise.
This album is incredibly varied and complex, varying from ‘Obscura Somnia’, which is almost an ode to melancholy, to ‘Big Powder’, a song which has such a sludgy synth and distorted bass that it creates a delectably gloomy atmosphere. One of the highlights is the combination of ‘Vetus Memoria’ and ‘Finem Solis’: opening with stunning piano lines with dark and sweeping guitar, one song subtly flows into the next, opening up to electronic ambient with a certain romantic streak to it. The romance doesn’t last, however, as it devolves into noise before transforming to a more organic ambient sound.
‘Helios Erebus’ has some of the best guitar riffs of the album. The echo over the muted riffs really breathes life into the composition while the rest of the music is still subdued, and the straight chords that feature later add a sense of urgency. This song in particular really flows to and fro between subdued and ethereal, hard and heavy. The second heavy section is introduced by a bassline that almost serves as a warning, and is followed by some excellent drumming. But the best piece on the album must surely be ‘Centralia’. This stunning composition has some heavy riffs that are spine-tinglingly good, so thick you can almost sink your teeth into them.
In short, Helios | Erebus is a soundscape even more intense than GIAA’s previous works, and is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys dark and atmospheric metal.