The Dutch Black Metal scene beholds some great acts, some nice acts, some cult acts (for the right reason), some cult acts (for the wrong reason) and acts that aren’t worth mentioning. Frankly, it just like any other scene in any other country. When Asgrauw send in their new and third album with an accompanying bio which mentioned being influenced by the great 90’s Scandinavian hordes, I just sat down and let the music do the talkin’. Although the label mentioned acts like Ulver, Emperor and Dodheimsgard and if you are fan of those you will like this album, I can give you a hint…they don’t really sound like that, at least not in the “Nattens Madrigral”, “Bergtatt”, “In The Nightside Eclipse” or “Kronet til konge”-way..well, not to me that is. Or it should be the painted cover which has some resemblances with Ulver’s early style. Probably the difference of “influenced by” and “sounds like”.
Fact is that Asgrauw delivered a solid album with “Gronsprech” and manages to create melancholic melodies with a 1990s Scandinavian vibe with some occasional synths. I do understand the bands Asgrauw mentioned themselves like Darkthrone (the punkish approach from time to time), Satanic Warmaster (think of “Opferblut” album) and Sargeist, which I find more suitable references. And to top it off, Raganrok’s “Nattferd” because the way the synths are being used and Enslaved’s “Vikingligr Veldi” for the sound and approach of the bass. The lyrical part is about regional myths and sung in the Dutch language as well as local dialect. To keep it a bit exotic for all you non-Dutch speakers out there, ha! If the early Second Wave Black Metal still floats your boat, I think you will have an enjoyable album with this one. (Ricardo)