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Asgrauw – IJsval

asgrauw – ijsval

Last year, head man Ricardo reviewed “Gronspech”, the third full length by this Dutch trio. He did a lot of the heavy lifting there in terms of influences for the band’s early second wave sound. I let his words do the talking on that front, which you can read here. I’m here today to discuss “IJsval”, the upcoming fourth full length album by the band, which is due out on January 20th. I’m not sure how I stumbled on this one, but perhaps it was a Bandcamp find. The album jumps right in with a seriously great tension between fiery aggression and melodicism. Pretty straightforward in terms of Black Metal, the albums gallops along through seven tracks of passionate playing that leans hard into the trve kvlt variety.

Individually, each instrument has many strengths going for it. The guitar work (Vaal) is what stood out to me too, and is the part most responsible for the melodicism referenced above. Waves of riffs wind in an out of the framework provided by the bass and drums. The bass (Kaos) is relatively noticeable, especially for an album that is so second wave influenced, but, though fairly essential to the big picture, remains in a supporting role. Drums (Batr) offer a lot of blasting with some nicely done fills and cymbal work to keep things dynamic and interesting. Vocals duties are shared by Vaal and Kaos, each with their own style. I’m not sure which is which, but one has a lower more gravelly style, while the other provides a higher pitched and more howling approach. Both are well within the expected confines of Black Metal.

What you’re really wondering amongst all this word play is whether the album is any good. The answer is  absolutely! “IJsval” is a very enjoyable romp through a fairly typical Black Metal style. Asgrauw does an excellent job with composition and dynamics, which keep this offering from being just another rinse-and-repeat version of the second wave masters.

Production is pretty clean, but not sparkly to the point of sounding like a polished, corporate product. “IJsval” has already received several spins by yours truly and will, I’m sure, stay in fairly regular rotation going forward. Check it out and let us know what you think. (Hayduke)