(Black Sunset / MDD Records)
This feels like a well crafted album, its soundscapes are shaped to fit a precise vision. This Austrian outfit offers Black Metal that at the same time feels stripped down to bare essentials and yet quite vast. Distilled might be the best description. Again, it feels hard to miss the obvious: that this album is really well thought out. The riffs often sound simplistic, but upon closer listen it becomes evident that they are not really. It is obvious that capable musicians are at work here, yet if seems that all is second to the grand scheme of things. Noted should be the melodies that branch out of this slab of Black Metal – they make for a ride that keeps on giving. A true ear candy, yet with many undertones, not just hooks, which is a rare quality. The drumming is not a protruding showcase of skill but firm scaffolding, but attention does not go unrewarded, for it is not derived. It is thus apparent that ASPHAGOR managed to struck a real balance and to call their music accessible (inviting?) would seems an affront, but in this case it is not. It is just well crafted music that does not beat around the bush. There are spoken parts and clean guitars that tame the fury and sections that would put to shame many so called atmospheric Black Metal bands. Add to all that a firm Heavy Metal foundation and you get a vast (yet focused!) soundscape. A great addition to the cannon of Black Metal that encompases many styles yet makes it work to best serve what matters – quality music. No morass of noise on "The Cleansing". More here: www.facebook.com/asphagor, www.mdd-records.de.