Astras have an interesting back-story which is covered in-depth on their facebook, page. Essentially, lead guitarist Alessio split from his previous band in 2002. he spent two years hunting for a handful of bandmates who he could continue his career with, and by 2004 he had found them.
They decided to set their music around a piece of fantasy fiction written for them by author and artist Almanegra, Star in the Chest – The Legend of Astras, from which the band took its name. Over following years, the band had several setbacks, but kept on going with the fantasy themes and classic metal sound.
Finally, in 2009 the album was released! By now, the title had changed to Maze of Time. It was released with six tracks directly descended from the original concept and a handful of new ones. Better still, it did well enough to help fund a follow-up which is due out imminently.
The only annoying thing is that there is no media I can embed at the end of this article (damn reverbnation’s use of iframes), so please click through the various links below to have a listen.