ALBUM REVIEW: Asgrauw – IJsval

Dutch Black Metallers ASGRAUW recently dropped their fourth full length album via Death Kvlt Productions, Pest Productions and Folkvangr Records, these are my thoughts on the record.

Scathingly cold guitars and massive walls of intricate drums bring the record in with powerful vocals and a really classic 90s mixing style to encompass these monstrous instrumentals is utilised beautifully. The relentless ferocity mixed with melancholic atmospherics is both melodic and astoundingly harsh, definitely grasping your attention and delving into almost tranquil compositions. While a lot of Black Metal can lose some bite, sacrificing it in order to use melodic touches, these maniacal Dutchmen keep the searing inferno of extremity close to the heart of their music which remains as beautiful as it is depravedly icy. The demonic snarling vocals are carefully layered with the pummelling drum work and ferocity-fuelled guitars, blending together in unison as a formidable force of Black Metal grandiosity. A dissonant flourish can be found occasionally within the fierce blizzard of rather orthodox Black Metal which definitely keeps things interesting while there is no lack of elemental haphazardness, feeling like a carefully constructed cairn to solitude and all that made Black Metal great in the 90s. Amidst all of this brilliance we are also treated to some bitterly depressive moments and equally some ferociously groovy parts, definitely offering a full sense of diversity while interlinking all the compositional elements fantastically. With a developed and highly contagious sound, this should definitely appeal to all Black Metal fans with melody, melancholy, aggression, atmosphere and overall a savage yet refined sound. -8/10

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