SummaryPartially defying the odds
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”War is hell” William T. Sherman once said. Now the Asgardsrei crew might not have any war experience at all, but I’m sure that they’re aware of this either way, because End of the Night captures the essence of war oh too well. Let’s just say that given its violent nature, my enjoyment out of this “war metal” record was rather unexpected.
Generally I’m not into this kind of stuff, but End of the Night features a few undeniable pros that really work in the band’s favor. First of all, the record succeeds at blending several influences together in an interesting manner. Given the war metal tag, you’ll certainly pick up some Blasphemy here; it’s that kind of in-your-face blackened death mayhem that presents itself through the frantic guitar chops… but there’s more. The archaic, yet crunchy riffing of “Blood Cult Genocide” instantly made me think of Realm of Chaos and although this lethal compositions sounds definitely identical, it doesn’t just get me in the mood for what it owes its existence to (a problem that I often have with songs of many new death metal bands that are obviously inspired by the bands of old). There’s also a melodic side of End of the Night that’s subtly presenting itself. Take those hum-worthy leads of “Thou Angel of Horror” for instance; they sound like they were taken straight out of Sabbat’s The Dwelling and they certainly add something ”musical” to the record’s otherwise overwhelmingly chaotic atmosphere.
Indeed, second of all and most important of all, End of the Night sound intense, yet it’s pretty dynamic from time to time. The instant blast of “Cult of the Nuclear God” would have been a more logical opening to this record than near-twelve minute “Declaration of Profane Glory”, but alas it makes a welcoming second track. Violent battle cries emerge between the storming guitar passages while the drums crash and blast onward with absolute conviction. You won’t pick up many bass lines here, no, but I’d be lying if I found that to be problematic (although the bass player might think otherwise – but who would blame him?). Still, the longer tunes of the record are proof enough of band’s flexibility and anyone hoping for a non-stop blasting assault might be shocked how these elaborated tracks shift between relentless brutality and atmospheric bits. From the haunted chants of ‘‘Declaration of Profane Glory” to the aforementioned Sabbat-esque leads of “Thou Angel of Horror’’, these compositions are as much of an overpowering threat as they’re divinely majestic. Certainly, the idea of epic war metal numbers might not make a lot of sense on paper, but props for Asgardsrei for defying the odds; apparently this really can work out once ideas are properly executed.
Nonetheless, the instant compositions of End of the Night sound absolutely ravaging, but I just can’t help but wonder whether Asgardsrei couldn’t release an entire album of grandiose war tales. Make no mistake, all the tracks you’ll stumble upon here do it for me – but whereas the shorter compositions are fun, those epic ones are quite something else. Given the dungeon-like direction the band has taken with their follow-up Dark Fears Behind the Door (which also rules, mind you), I’ll just assume the band’s elaborated songcraft isn’t going to be revived anytime soon, but a part of me can’t help but yearn for an entire epic tale to unfold at one point. Needless to say, Asgardsrei have proven their worth with this evocative, yet metallic-the-bone kind of debut. I just think that End of the World would have been a more appropriate title though!
Release date: September 30th, 2012
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