posted on 2/2003 By:
Very few bands seem to embody pure evil. Some try and come off as ridiculous and boring (*cough* Deicide). Asgaroth -- a sort of blackened melodic death metal band from Spain -- pulls it off in style, you feel as if your soul is being sucked out and devoured while listening to Red Shift. In a world of bland and formulaic metal, it is great to hear something that has some creativity and substance. Asgaroth is very keyboard-heavy, but they are not weighed down by this heaviness. They are similar to Dark Tranquillity in that the keyboards are not just a background filler and ambiance creator, they are actually another instrument in the band. They carry the melody as well as adding ambiance. Sometimes this can be an annoying thing, but in Asgaroth and Dark Tranquillity's case, it is a beautiful thing. In fact, there is an entire track dedicated to keyboard instrumental. Entitled "6 Bloodmarks", it is a very eerie and evil journey that seems to delve deep into your psyche. Along with these great keyboards comes some impeccable production. The various effects and other nuances really add to the total experience. It completely engrosses you and keeps you riveted. I would highly suggest a pair of expensive headphones and a couple of hours of alone time to listen to and lose yourself within the album. A couple of things stood out (negatively) for production though: one is the drum production. It gets lost in the magnificence of the guitars, vox, and obviously the keyboards and effects. If you listen closely, there is some very cool double-bass thundering way back in there somewhere, but you have to listen too hard to hear it. It doesn't detract from the overall experience very much, but it did leave me wanting more drums. The second thing is the vox, they too can get lost at times within the grandiose of the other instruments, but again, I'm nit-picking. And as you can see from my score, it wasn't even enough to bring down the score from the full 6 points, it would be unfair to the good parts to focus on the bad. There is so much this album has to offer, I cannot wait to hear it again and again, it is that good. Anyone who tries to say that metal isn't "music" and that the people involved in it aren't "artists" can be shut up by this with a rusty, steel-toed boot. Unless you are a fan of boring, tasteless, blast-beat ridden heavy metal (*ahem* ye who likes Deicide), then you have absolutely no reason to not own this bad boy. Who needs mind-altering drugs when you can be driven to the point of blissful insanity by Asgaroth's Red Shift?
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