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Review: Lord Maestro – ‘Astral Transfiguration’

by Thomas Bedward August 18, 2020

Review: Lord Maestro – ‘Astral Transfiguration’

A unique hip-hop artist from the wild, creative depths of the 8th dimension, Lord Maestro has a chequered but enduring history with music. While spells as a heavy metal vocalist and folk guitar play occupied him for a time, Lord Maestro’s passion always lay with hip-hop, capturing his passion and focus like no other genre in the known universe. Inspired by the likes of Waka Flocka, Atmosphere, E40, and Optimus Rhyme, Lord Maestro has spent over a decade creating his atmospheric sound, seamlessly blending his influences with his own creative spark to bring us all his debut record, ‘Astral Transfiguration’.

A long-term sufferer of Borderline Personality Disorder, Lord Maestro’s debut album is a stylised as a clear and honest journey through the shifting realms of his psyche, breaking down the barriers and bringing every listener into his world of dark calms and rising storms.

A nine-track release, ‘Astral Transfiguration’ opens with ‘Cosmic Horror’, a fierce rap collaboration with De’Vinche that burns with instant intensity, pushing through a three-and-a-half-minute rush of space-age beats and driven tempo, unleashing a sharp hip-hop sound that shines with a celestial afterglow. It’s an immediate and unmistakable introduction, one that perfectly captures the shifting essence of the album. Second cut ‘Big Nope’ carries forward the same bold intensity, showcases Lord Maestro’s speed and proficiency with an unyielding dexterity, sweeping aside more subdued instrumentals and proving his abilities beyond any shadow of a doubt. It’s a wonderful and ensnaring thing, a wild creative beast that makes its mark and then pushes on to the next relentless mix.

One of the album’s most impressive and undeniable tracks, ‘Samsabracadabra’ is an unstoppable stream of controlled, versatile vocals that flow with precision and power, offering clever lyrics and driving narratives in droves. Spike with the ebb and flow of digital howls and subtle, rolling beats that world marvellously to add layers and texture to the track, it’s arguably one of the year’s most engaging and unrelenting independent anthems.

The second half of the album arrives with the ghostly, reverb-soaked sounds of ‘Ghostmall’, a twisted instrumental that breaks over distorted funk sounds and an intoxicating dark haze. Changing pace, the album morphs into the shifting ambience and transitional indie flourishes of ‘Dazemaker’, opening new horizons that Lord Maestro boldly steps into, crafting ‘Pulsar’ and ‘Dope Bomb’ out of a unique stream of double-tap beats, authentic hip-hop vocals, and building digital flourishes, before the closing hip-hop anthem of ‘Feels Bad Man’ surfaces, ending the album with tactile waves of ambient sound and classic hip-hop.

 

When it comes to an album like ‘Astral Transfiguration’, you can never quite be sure what you’re going to get. Imbued with a certain mystique, these enigmatic releases can often be best left forgotten, but in the case of Lord Maestro, his debut record is a rich and unwavering triumph. Textured, brilliantly original, and utterly irresistible, there is a dark magic that lies at the heart of ‘Astral Transfiguration’, ensuring that every listener will be hooked from the very first cut. A rare, honest, and evocative release ‘Astral Transfiguration’ is an album we’ll be tuning into for years to come.

You can stream the album above via Soundcloud, or find it on Spotify for an alternate track listing and catch the exclusive, lonesome country anthem of ‘Van Allen Honky Tonk’.

Score: 8.5/10

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