Taking its name from one of the five rivers of the underworld in Greek mythology, Leteo revolves around ideas of choice and consequence as they relate to death and afterlife. In the stories of myth, the Lethe was the river of forgetfulness, from which transitioning souls would drink in order to erase their memories and become reincarnated. There are stories that also tell of the river Mnemosyne, whose waters had the opposite effect, preserving all the memories of those who consumed its waters. Leteo seeks to explore the dynamic surrounding these two choices, each of which have their benefits and drawbacks, joys and sadnesses.
In order to represent this, the band looked to channel the energy and emotions tied to this choice, and allow them to guide their hands during the writing process. The resulting collection is perhaps more contemplative and less explosive than their 2018 LP Cardinal, but it is also richer in its foundations, built on the instincts and chemistry of the band members. A track like “Dopo tenebre, spero la luce” exhibits the confidence necessary to allow the composition to unfold in its own time, never overplaying its hand by diving into its more aggressive tendencies too quickly. Instead, its mournful melodic sensibilities are given room to breathe, grow, and impact the listener. This in turn allows its finale to shine even brighter when the volume is turned up and introspection gives way to resounding force.
“Sihaya” opens with a more propulsive energy, though even in that context it feels like the song is less about punishing the listener than it is about affecting the listener, which is quite a different focus. The drums and bass on this track are particularly muscular, providing a potent counterpoint to guitars that convey a sense of melancholy even in their louder moments. It’s an impressive balancing act that results in a song that presents as very naturally compelling while functioning as it does on the back of some more nuanced complexities that remain just beneath the surface.
Lest potential listeners believe that Leteo is composed entirely of pensive thought and brooding performance, we should look also to the album-closing “T’oublier,” which gradually transitions from its quiet beginnings into possibly the most powerful performance the band has put forth to date. Introduced by some assertive hi-hat work, the track’s second half layers thick bass with feverishly rendered guitar melodies, which build considerable momentum until suddenly everything stops and the only sound is the anxious thrust of percussion and the sensational promise of pick scrapes that sneer and swell in anticipation of what’s to follow. And what follows is a raucous, joyous culmination of all the careful consideration and measured staging that has preceded it. Two and a half minutes of three musicians who are intrinsically bonded but individually flourishing, letting loose every ounce of fury within them in a grand display of power.
If you seek the meeting point of strength and intellect, a record with imposing conceptual aims and the dexterity needed to soar to such heights, you’ll want to drink deeply of Leteo.
released January 27, 2023
Recorded by Carlos Santos at Sadman Studio.
Mixed by Santi García at Ultramarinos.
Mastered by Víctor García at Ultramarinos.
Je ne possède aucun disque metal instrumental. Sauf celui-ci. Et pour un gros fan de voix comme moi, ça en dit long.
Pour la faire courte, le son est ENORME, et les riffs sont légendaires. Envoûtant. gregory duveau
I became a big fan with there first album and it got heavy rotation in my evening listening sessions. Every track is stellar and unique in itself. Astodan has the unique ability to bring both raw and controlled emotion and power within every song. I will be purchasing this album and their new live album on wax shortly. Astodan has become not only my favorite band right now but their music is in all my playlists. If I could see one band before I die, this is the band. Frederick Jones