Review Summary: Early contender for the best black metal album of the year.
Before a few months ago, I've never even heard of Aaskereia and then one day Spirit rec'd me their newest album, Dort, wo das alte Bose ruht
. Having never heard anything about the band prior to that point, other than the fact that they were a black metal band, I was pretty interested to see just what kind of black metal I was dealing with. Saying that I was surprised by this band after spinning this album a few times would be an understatement because I got what could be an early contender for the best black metal album of 2011. Aaskereia is a band that likes to mix together both depressive black metal and elements of folk metal. Yeah, not something that is all too original in this day and age, but with that being said, the band pulls it off very well and is reminiscent of earlier Ulver and Borknagar mixed with a hint of Paysage d'Hiver.
Right off the bat you're hit with some clean baritone vocals that would automatically remind you of something that you would hear from one of the most classic black metal vocalists, Garm of Ulver fame. One hell of a way to start off an album and a damn good first impression if I do say so myself. From that point on you're hit with a fantastic and equal mixture of both the cleaner vocals and some very tortured harsh screams. The harsh vocals are very pain-ridden and the misery can easily be heard. That's where the element of the depressive black metal rears its ugly head. Mixing both of the vocal styles is very refreshing. As for the instrumental aspect of the album, once again, it's a mixture of some different elements. On one hand you have the band going for a chilling atmosphere with some tremolo picked guitars and blast beats from the drums, something that black metal fans are used to. And then on the other hand you have the folk element coming into play with acoustic guitars showing up a lot more than once during the album. A perfect example would be the third track entitled Winter. It's a very atmospheric instrumental that is entirely acoustic with howling wind in the background giving off the image of a chilling night during a harsh blizzard or something of that nature.
The production of the album goes perfectly along with the lyrical content, which is all about the bitter cold winter, darkness, and frostbitten forests. Once again, something that seasoned black metal veterans would be extremely familiar with. While the production of the album is clean for the most part, it's still very cold and goes perfectly along with the feeling that the band is trying to convey with the concept of winter. Just think of a band like Paysage d'Hiver, only with a less fuzzy, low-fi production. While that fuzziness is definitely an element that is unique and helps to further give off that chilling feeling, it's not always needed and Aaskereia prove that point right here.
Without a doubt Dort, wo das alte Bose ruht
is an album that came out of left field and is something that is an extreme surprise for me. This album is something that should be wanted to be checked out by black metal fans, right up there with Ash Borer's self-titled and the highly anticipated upcoming Primordial album. A lot of people probably have never heard of the name Aaskereia, but now would be the time to look into them because this is definitely going to be a sleeper in the running for best black metal album in 2011 when the year is up. You all just wait and see.