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Asagraum – Veil of Death, Ruptured

asagraum – veil of death, ruptured


That the Dutch Black Metal scene has been thriving has been noticeable within the borders of the country for many years. But also internationally, bands are increasingly getting their deserved attention. Of course there have always been stalwarts such as Urfaust and Sammath, but a more recent example is Helleruin, who are currently on another high profile tour through Europe with fellow Dutchmen of Wrang and international powerhouses Darvaza and Misþyrming. Another band that has been in an international spotlight for the past few years is Asagraum. Led by the iron fist of founder Obscura, the band reaped international acclaim including an appearance at the Black Metal valhalla, Steelfest, along with raving reviews of their two albums. Needless to say, many a soul will have been eagerly awaiting the coming of their latest album, entitled ‘Veil of Death, Ruptured’.

With the release of their newest album, the duo of Obscura and A. Morthaemer mostly follow in the footsteps of predecessor ‘Dawn of Infinite Fire’. This essentially means that the band continues to combine Scandinavian Black Metal from the 90’s with a more modern approach and production. Sargeist, Gorgoroth, Dissection, Immortal, Sinmara, Ofermod, Watain, Mayhem and Mgła are just some of the bands that I’m reminded of, but credits are due to Asagraum, as they by no means sounds like a direct copy of any of these bands. Instead, the result is more a combination the 90’s aesthetics mixed with ritualistic and skincrawling riffs in a more modern, fuller sounding jacket.

While a logical continuation, the band has also progressed from the preceding album. ‘Dawn of Infinite Fire’ was a more varied work than the debut, and this diversity between the songs is further increased on ‘Veil of Death, Rupture’. This mostly manifest by adding more accents to the subtle solos and entrancing vocals of the songs. In ‘Ignem Purificat Lilitu’ for instance the melodic riffs are more in the vein of Sargeist and Immortal and clean vocal choirs even harken to Emperor’s ‘Ye Entrancemperium’, while one of the album highlights ‘Impure fire’ starts more dissonant before it develops an entrancing subcutaneous melody. Here and in ‘De Waanzin Roept Mijn Naam’, another highly noteworthy song, nervewrecking high-pitched tremolo picking draped upon a wall of rhythm guitars and drums combine into a hypnotizing ritual that is certainly one of the strongest aspects of the album.

Asagraum is clearly a band that aims for this ritualistic Black Metal atmosphere. That at times transitions can be a bit loose or some of the clean vocals are a bit off seems irrelevant. Rightfully so, as the band manages to nail down the atmosphere and passion that are so crucial to Black Metal just right and in the end that’s all that really matters. So there is little doubt that ‘Veil of Death, Ruptured’ is an album that will further enhance the status of Asagraum in the international Black Metal scene.


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