Skagos
Ast


2.0
poor

Review

by DarkNoctus CONTRIBUTOR (40 Reviews)
December 31st, 2010 | 39 replies | 8,061 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The biggest issue on Ast is the fact that none of the songwriting is particularly interesting or worthwhile when there are so many bands that do it better.

You know, I can never seem to get enough nature-themed black metal. Somehow the themes go together hand in hand to make a raw, primitive wall of sound that perfectly captures the very essence of the woods of the trees they often sing about - provided it's done well. See Wolves In The Throne Room, late October Falls and early Ulver for the evidence of this combination working together beautifully. I'm always ready to accept another band in the ranks of these tree-hugging (yet talented) musicians, and on the front of it all, Skagos seems perfect - long songs, pretty yet bleak album covers, what is there not to like? Unfortunately, the thing not to like is the music itself in the case of Skagos.

After being greeted by a few arbitrary sounds that don't really set any kind of atmosphere at all, which would be fine if the rest was good, we're thrown right into the first real track. It begins with a pretty uninspired set of power chords with a near ridiculous amount of reverb on them, which is an obvious attempt to make the song sound "atmospheric", which might work if the riff was any good. On top of this you have the same note ringing over and over, with stock standard drums for this genre. Enter some vocals that sound far too processed to my ears (I thought Skagos boasted about only using real instruments, or maybe I'm wrong?). Save for one ambient-ish track that seems to hold no purpose, Skagos just seem to cut and copy that formula for an hour with a few different and consistently boring riffs, and they made Ast.

Okay, that's not really fair - there are some moments that shake it up a bit. We occasionally get to hear an acoustic guitar that plays a few notes very slowly and never do anything particularly interesting. This might be nice, but it's so predictable that you know exactly what is going to happen before it actually does. Aside from this, Ast does very little to surprise you. Sometimes there are a few sections between the generic black metal passages with a few of the instruments cut out as yet another attempt to accentuate the atmosphere, but due to none of the riffs being particularly interesting, the atmosphere is lost on it. It doesn't help that a lot of the playing here seems a bit sloppy, too. Some of the drumming sounds a bit off in places and some of the guitar seems very ameteurish and weak. Because of this, there aren't really any highlights at all. This completely ruins anything this album had going for it because bands like Wolves In The Throne Room and October Falls rely heavily on their riffs being hypnotic, and none of the riffs here have the effect they should - so it just becomes a drawn out, boring attempt at stealing their thunder. Almost all of the above could have easily been forgiven by me if the songwriting was any good, or at least distinctive. There's just no point in talking about the majority of the tracks here because they all suffer from the same thing. Shame, really.

So where does Skagos go wrong? Well, beyond the pretty sloppy playing displayed on Ast, the biggest issue is the fact that none of the songwriting is particularly interesting or worthwhile when there are so many bands that do it so much better. Yes, it would be unreasonable to ask for every band doing this kind of thing to be at the same high standard as the aforementioned bands, but at least do something relatively interesting if you're going to do an album like this. This would even be enjoyable if it was an obvious clone (which it is), provided it was well written - but Ast just isn't. Every moment spent listening to this is another moment wishing you were listening to someone who does it better. Perhaps my rating is a bit harsh, but average implies that it is to a certain standard, to the norm - there's nothing really to take from this at all, and absolutely none of it seems worthwhile - so to me, this is a poor effort. Shame really, as there is evidently potential here, the band members just need to find it and find some better ideas. Alas, a band member posted on MySpace saying he's off to live in a distant cave somewhere. Well, if it prevents another bland album like this one, I'm all for it.



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user ratings (57)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
December 31st 2010



8744 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

had this saved to my HDD for a while so I thought I'd do it up and post it since I just saw Skagos
discussed by someone

really don't like this album much at all, but feel free to disagree and give criticism

Hawks
December 31st 2010



34491 Comments


Pretty nice review man. Definitely staying away from this shit. Their side of the split with Panopticon was awful.

Digging: Equilibrium - Erdentempel

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
December 31st 2010



8744 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

maybe you should try it, other people seem to really dig it but it does absolutely nothing for me

Hawks
December 31st 2010



34491 Comments


It's not gonna do anything for me either. I was bored to death by the shit from the split.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
December 31st 2010



8744 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

despite not being very good, it's better than the split. the split was pretty abysmal and this is at least listenable.

Hawks
December 31st 2010



34491 Comments


Eh still probably won't like it. I might sample a song to see what I think.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
December 31st 2010



8744 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

if I was forced to choose a track as a highlight I'd choose Caliginosity or the final track, so start there. hope you find more in it than me.

Hawks
December 31st 2010



34491 Comments


I shall youtube in a minute.

wyankeif1337
December 31st 2010



6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the split with When Bitter Spring Sleeps was better. But it was different than with skagos, wbss' demo was awful and their side of the split was good

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
December 31st 2010



8744 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

maybe I'll give that a chance then because these guys obviously have potential, it's just so badly spent here

wyankeif1337
December 31st 2010



6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Look at the reviews for this on metal archives. They're gay for this album

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
December 31st 2010



8744 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

tbh I wish I liked it but it just seems like an amateurish Wolves In The Throne Room copy to the very
last wind sound effect.

also metallum tend to be gay for a lot of bad things.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2010



17197 Comments


i liked this a lot when i came out but it quickly grew rather tiring, especially since i don't listen
to metal much anymore so now i never waste my time with this.

MoosechriS
January 1st 2011



4796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was thinking about getting this but iv been told by so many people that its shit so i havn't bothered. If you want some awesome atmospheric black metal check out ash borer if you already havn't. Probably now one of my fave bands

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2011



16260 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The only thing I've ever liked by this band was their split with Wake. This was boring.

TheSpirit
January 1st 2011



17177 Comments


Worst Cascadian band

Digging: vhmnt / blsphm - vhmnt / blsphm

vanderb0b
January 9th 2011



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Blossoms Will Sprout is awesome, but the rest didn't do very much for me. Album really didn't have that much replay value either.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
January 18th 2011



7021 Comments


great stuff

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
January 18th 2011



8744 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

i wish i could agree :T

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
February 29th 2012



8744 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

http://skagos.bandcamp.com/track/anarchic-side-a

new stuff by this band is a LOT better than this. :]



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