Space Odyssey – The Astral Episode

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Reviewed: August 2005
Released: 2005, Regain Records
Rating: 1.5/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Richard Andersson is one of the most well known keyboard players today within the hardrock scene. Besides Space Odyssey he has his ordinary band Time Requiem that last year released two albums: a live album and the new studio album THE INNER CIRCLE OF REALITY. Strangely he didn’t tour with Time Requiem in order to promote the album, instead Richard chose to enter the studio once again to record a brand new studio album with Space Odyssey. With the debut album with Time Requiem he only did two shows in Sweden and three in Japan. Those are the only shows he has done with Time Requiem, he hasn’t done any live shows at all with Space Odyssey, a very strange move. It seems like Richard is keener on making albums instead of talking to the press.

The line up has gone through some changes since the last album, he has brought in a new drummer in Andreas and Magnus, who only handed the guitar on the last album, handles the bass playing this time. Patrik on vocals and Richard remains the same from the previous album. As usual evolves the whole album around Richard and his keyboard, it is a bit sad that Patrik don’t get more space to show off his vocal skills because he sounds just like Dio or David Coverdale but in his own way.

Patrik saves much of this otherwise quite boring album with his amazing voice and if you haven’t heard him before you ought to check him out immediately. The album consists almost only of Richard’s keyboard play and sure, he’s real genius on that but it takes a bit more than only his skills to fill out an album.

Richard have recorded this album in his own studio, Lipton Studio located somewhere outside Malmö I think. The info proclaims that “This time Richard were in total control over everything from the sound to the producing parts” but hey, what’s new there. As I understands it Richard have always had complete control of all his albums so far. When all the instruments were recorded he took the material to his friend and producer Jonas Reingold (Midnight Sun, Reingold, The Flower Kings etc) and mixed the album together with Jonas and it took them only 10 days to finish the mixing.

And what about the production then, well Richard did mix the debut in Reingold studios as well and back then I thought the production sounded a bit plain and weak ‘cause the studios lack of equipment for doing a proper mix. On this album however I think that the production and mix sounds better but still it needs to sounds more heavy metal to get my approval.

This album contains 8 tracks with a strictly instrumental song as well which is represented by “Presence of mind”, usually he features two or more instrumental songs but this time he has only added one. Richard have not only done the producing but also written all the material, all the arrangements, he’s in total control as always this man.

What’s the standard of the material this time, the latest Time Requiem album didn’t impress me at all is seems like he’s stuck and the same goes for this album. Even though this album feels a little more technical the music is pretty much the same and the keyboard solos as well. The question is do we need another album like this by Richard Andersson? It feels like he’s stuck in the same circle and only does the same thing over and over again. Why can’t he let the other members also take part in the writing and producing in order to get a fresh album instead of repeating himself again and again.

I’ve said it before and I can say it again, it’s Patrik that saves this album from a fiasco. Sure, the album is extremely well played but it lacks feeling and the material keeps repeating itself, and who wants an album without feeling in the long run?

If you’re a fan of Richard or the slightest interested in keyboard I think this is an album for you, but otherwise I don’t think you should buy it, the album is only an instant repeat of the previous one.

At the moment Richard is working on an album called THE COLLECTION which is an album full of re-recordings of his older songs, but on the other hand Richard only has done 5 previous albums so one can wonder if it’s necessary with such a compilation.


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Track Listing:
Through dreams and reality
Astral episode
Lord of the winds
Dazzle the dark
Bach to the dark
Presence of mind
The seventh star fantasy

Richard Andersson – keyboards
Patrik Johansson – lead vocals
Andreas Brobjer – drums
Magnus Nilsson – guitar, bass