Progressive metallers Astra have announced their return on the scene with their third, long waited album ‘Broken Balance’, following the critically acclaimed ‘About Me: Through Life And Beyond’ (2006) and ‘From Within’ (2009). The foursome, centered around keyboard wizard Emanuele Casali (DGM), have renovated their sound to make it less focused on the virtuosity of its members and more on a collective effort to write great songs with strong, memorable choruses. The lyrical concept itself evolves around the different meanings of “change”, as each of these 12 new songs suggest. The guitar riffs range from Symphony X precision to Queensryche’s late-eighties/early-nineties vibe. The vocal arrangements are superb, suggesting a feel for the best in current metal production but also an appreciation for classic art rock like Queen or Styx, something that most progressive-minded acts lack nowadays. 2014 may shape up to be a good year for Progressive Metal.