Review: Hashtronaut ‘No Return’

You can pretty much tell what you’re in for when dropping the needle onto Hastronaut’s album No Return just from the band name alone. Smoke filled riffs that have been blasted into outer space. And that is exactly what I’m looking for. Hastronaut are not reinventing the wheel by any means, but they are making that wheel work better than ever.

Hashtronaut 'No Return' Artwork
Hashtronaut ‘No Return’ Artwork

Blues Funeral Recordings has been a favorite label of mine for quite some time and with each new artist and release it becomes increasingly apparent that not only do they know what they are doing, but they love it! With a roster including Domkraft, Horseburner, Elephant Tree, spacey riffs are their specialty and Hastronaut fits the mold perfectly.

The album starts off with Rip Wizard, which speaking of Blues Funeral, reminds me of Howling Giant’s Comet Rider at a reduced pace. The opening riff of epic proportion blasts the listener right out of their seat and into orbit and there’s no turning back. Karl Agell describes the track best on Let’s Make A Mixtape, ‘…it builds anticipation. What’s next? You know, it draws you in instantly. At least in my world.’ That’s exactly what Hastronaut have done with Rip Wizard. They give you a taste and leave you hungry for more.

No Return is a massive album from a band you would believe had a few prior releases to work out the kinks, but Hastronaut released this profound long-player as their debut! They share influences in the essential albums such as Sleep’s Dopesmoker, Monolord’s Empress Rising and Windhand’s Soma come to mind when getting into the meat of this nine tracker. Slow, heavy music playing monstrous riffs heard on Cough It Up, Carcinogen, Hex and Dweller rival these powerful albums.

Tucked between these long playing towering doom tracks sits Dead Cloud. A clean riff played through cavernous echo giving the vibe an 180-degree turn. While the song does kick it into high gear, it sits more in the heavy psych side of doom and why Blues Funeral most likely scooped this album up. Easily my favorite track as it checks off every box for me when listening to new music.

The opening riff of epic proportion blasts the listener right out of their seat and into orbit and there’s no turning back…

Lung Ruiner however doesn’t stray too far from Dead Cloud‘s vibe and feels like it could even sit in an early Pallbearer album. Slowing the pace back to a crawl, the opening riffs grabs your attention as the droning tones slowly put you into a trance. Mixed with clean vocals and occasional growls, the song is packed with everything fans of doom metal will want.

I’d like to briefly touch on Dweller which is up next. I mentioned above the similarities to iconic albums in the genre and you’ll hear that, but the vocal power on this track is impressive. It’s brief but at the two-minute nineteen mark, I stopped what I was doing, and truly focused on what I was hearing. I’ll be revisiting Dweller frequently much like You’ve Stolen The Words by Sergeant Thunderhoof for the same reason.

The final two numbers take the instrumental approach. Marsquake starts with a killer performance from Robb Park on guitar utilizing some interesting effects to fill the space. Listed as ‘Stunt Guitarist’, Park also builds guitar effects pedals at Fowl Sounds so the wild and unique sonics layered over the ominous tones are expertly crafted.

Blast Off concludes this album with a short onslaught of aggression. The band has major influences tied to Sleep but they end the album with an intense High On Fire style track. Perhaps as a wild send off, leaving you breathless, but I see it as a sample of what the band is capable of and what they may have in store for fans with their next release. Time will tell.

Label: Blues Funeral Recordings
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Josh Schneider