Review Summary: A droning work of genius.What You Don’t Know Is Frontier
is all about atmosphere. The brains behind ASVA have crafted a piece of music, hell a piece of art, that creates an immense, colossal, all enveloping, vast, pervasive and omnipresent atmosphere, one which completely saturates your mind, numbs all your senses, to the point where all you can do is breathe, no live
, the album itself. In this regard, it completely achieves its every goal as an atmospheric album; captivating from beginning to end, it traverses moods that are introspectively despairing, vehemently brooding, and downright crushing, aggressive and merciless. It’s an album that does not decay, constantly remaining invigorative and enhancing one’s own emotional outlook, being the bridge upon which the listener steps when exploring the depths of his own thought.
The album opens with the title track, a slow burning epic characterized by its measured and ponderous riffing. In an almost random manner, the riffs are splayed throughout the song, not altering their tempo or dynamics, simply melding into the ambience in which the band’s tasteful use of the organ comes to light. The organ provides the backdrop for the song, giving it a dense aura which supplements the sluggish guitars sublimely. Second track ‘Christopher Columbus’, in a similar fashion, creates a soundscape characterized by a sinister bass lurch, its ominous nature furthered by the constant crashing of cymbals. In juxtaposition to the opener’s sense of might, ‘Christopher Columbus’ is a much darker track, adding constant layers to its already menacing environment before climaxing in an impressive manner. The band’s attention to detail is nothing short of amazing, with each song richly textured as to give them a larger than life feeling; even guitar feedback is used to add extra flavour to the album, used only in certain instances but highly effective in enhancing the album’s mood.
‘A Game in Hell, Hard Work in Heaven’ picks up the pieces of ‘Christopher Columbus’, giving the listener several moments to take in the enormity of the former song’s climax. It then flows into an absolutely emotion-filled and beautiful passage of music, female tribal-like singing lulling you into a trance before the heart-wrenching riffs blow away any empty thoughts in a most poignant and expressive outburst. The album ends with ‘A Trap for Judges’, an enormous twenty four minute track which fuses everything that was already good about What We Don’t Know Is Frontier
into a single song, and again proves how successful ASVA are creating an album that is as moving as it is climactic.
As a drone album, What You Don’t Know Is Frontier
is incredibly varied, so much so that each of its mammoth songs do not use a single technique found on the others; this in itself is an achievement, but ASVA prove their talent by putting together four grand tracks that do not imitate each other, yet collude as an album superbly. From the very first listen, even considering the use of the word ‘monotonous’ seems preposterous, as it is literally the last word one would attach to the album, even through its most obvious association to the genre that the album belongs to. Ultimately, What You Don’t Know Is Frontier
is a journey through your own mind; the album’s intensity never diminishes, and it’s up to you, dear reader, to make of it what you will. Highly recommended.