Aske (Fin) – Saatan Legio/Goatfuck – 4.5/5
A compilation from their first two demos that was released last year, it’s not difficult to see the attraction. A raw sounding black metal band breaking the conventional stereotypes; the prominent bass preventing the sound from getting too thin without detracting from the atmosphere strived to accomplish by the guitars; this is an album displaying an impressive degree of creativity from all its members, none left feeling redundant they traverse from familiar territory to slower more melodic styles, seamlessly weaving to form one of the better underground releases I’ve had the pleasure of hearing.
The real genius of this operation is the drummer; so much more than just providing your generic blast beated rhythm, he demonstrates a creative prowess present in the form of constant variation, using of all the drums at his disposal to create fills and crashes of the cymbals to accent the vocalist, as well as his numerous solos; heard prominently through the instrumentation it his performance that frequently overshadows the other musicians. The bassist is relegated largely to the most basic of riffs, but his mere presence constitutes something unusual. The keyboards too, are carefully not overused, lending a sense of diversity or enhancing the atmosphere at critical points, it is seamlessly integrated into the composition of the track to maintain raw element essential whilst lending a unique tone to the proceedings.
In addition, the guitars lend more than just a simplistic tremolo riff to the proceedings, often lending a simple but effective melody to distinguish between the tracks, with an assortment of variety in styles and tempo, never straying too far from what we come to expect of a guitarist in this genre he nonetheless performs as another cog in this machine that runs so effectively. It is only the vocals that perhaps shows weakness, with a distinct lack of variation in pitch he can frequently be heard shrieking in a manner that operates as another instrument, so easily capable of becoming monotonous if not for its sparing use.
What separates this artist from many others is their impeccable sense of melody; many can play raw black metal with an insatiable ferocity, an emotional conviction and atmospheric depth which sustains interest in their music, but this artist have gone a step beyond that. They have combined that impeccable insatiable aggressive tone with a marvellous sense of creativity, expanding on the style whilst remaining loyal to all that it could hope to accomplish. It is this that pushes them far out in front of the competition, and makes this such an accomplished work.
Highlights: Crushing the Throne of the Impotent, Countess, Black Mass