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Asregen – Saturnus’ Nacht

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Asregen (Dutch for ash rain) is a 2 man black metal band: singer Satanael, and Swerc doing all instruments (drum, guitar, bass, synth). In the Dutch black metal scene the two members are no strangers. Swerc plays/played in Gheestenland, Kjeld, Kaeck, Tarnkappe, Winter of Sin, Lugubre, solo project Krocht and more, doing various instruments. Satanael sang in Walpurgisnacht, Weemoed, recent Cirith Gorgor. He too has a solo project, Raben. Quite an active and impressive background… but what does Asregen add to this? First of all; atmosphere. Asregen excels, maybe even more than aforementioned bands, in creating a sometimes goosebumps afflicting atmosphere. Not all too depressive, more like melancholic in a mastered way. This band salutes cosmic forces and mythological entities, but also the end of life and death within a cosmic scheme. Powerful and at the same time melancholic guitar melodies are going on without any distracting technical skills. The vocal lines are mostly dual: one scream and the other more throatlike clean singing (Attila Csihar style). Together with the tight drums this works out really well, and the sound is great too. There are lots of midtempo parts, sometimes varied with fast drumming, and always in line with great atmosphere. Secondly, atmosphere is extended with a cosmic awareness of the inner self’s mind’s eye. Being one with cosmos, its beauty, vastness and darkness, is praised. The infinite quality of cosmos and the astral meditative side of being is mixed with mythological content. Through their music and lyrics, Asregen lets us know that we are but a minor theme in the whole universe; which is not necessarily a bad thing. Faith in futility, one could call it. Without any religious claim or link (maybe Buddhism because of their meditative aspect and the astral journey part) leaving humanity behind in favor of that stronger soul drifting away in both a demonic and divine space infinity… Far beyond life, death, moralities, our human coils and toils. It’s nice to be adrift in cosmos… for a while. When one lands it’s over and daily stuff seems waiting again big time. And what’s art but a temporary escape from the all of the time returning cycles of doing (till death); that’s what Asregen gives us. Our conscience drifts comfortably through the atmosphere brought forth by the music and lyrics of Asregen. The front cover doesn’t fit their cosmic concept as much as it could have. Also the symbol picture is too much alike Primordial’s Spirit The Earth Aflame album cover, a band they share the intense atmosphere with. However less varied and inventive at least as hypnotizing as Primordial, reinforced by the warm synth sometimes put under the guitar riffs, or in the outro only synth with spoken word. Next to atmosphere Asregen thus adds introspection to a scene that is tortured by cliches. Cosmic black metal isn’t original either: Lunar Aurora, Limbonic Art, Lustre, are such bands and even Anti-cosmos exists as a concept (Watain). But it’s fresh in times of draught. (Houtekiet)