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Ear to the Ground: ASG’s “Comet Drop”

Even at this plodding-astronaut pace, ASG’s soaring guitar harmonies, walls of sludgy distortion, and glass-shattering vocals are white-knuckle intense.

While you’re waiting for the new ASG album to drop, the North Carolina quartet is satiating salivating fans with an exclusive new single that’s a bit slower and sludgier than the sum of their acclaimed 2013 album, Blood Drive.

“Comet Drop” still boasts singer/guitarist Jason Shi’s signature melodic wails and behemoth walls of distortion, but drummer Scott Key and bassist Andy Ellis somehow maintain the band’s signature energy and intensity at a plodding, moonwalking-astronaut tempo. But back to Shi’s singing: Let’s just say that it’s refreshing to hear a guy hit those high notes without succumbing to yet another Sabbath-era Ozzy impersonation.

Meanwhile, Shi and Jonah Citty’s epic twin-guitar harmonies during the closing solo intertwine with the congruent aplomb of greats like Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, and even Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. There’s also a beautifully deep-sounding rumble coming from Citty’s amp. It’s the kind of breakup you can feel in your chest, and it serves as a great reminder that one of the many meanings the band ascribes to its ASG acronym is “amplification of self-gratification.”