Review Summary: Forget Me Not
As much as I love the genre, death metal as a whole has a lot of crap to sift through to find the truly great albums that have been forgotten or doomed to obscurity. These records are akin to that of a needle in the haystack or the cream in a Twinkie: they are present but they require work (albeit some more than the other) to be found. Amidst the sea of middling or plain lackluster records in the genre exist the ones that stand above the rest. This is exactly what To A Golden Age is.
The 90’s were a time where the death metal scene absolutely exploded, giving birth to countless bands, some that stood the test of time and others that faded away as quickly as they came to be. Asgard, without a doubt, was part of the latter group, whereas they only released one full-length record, To A Golden Age. With that record though Asgard more then proved themselves as one of the most promising bands of the time.
To A Golden Age thrives on its many strengths, which pretty much pertains to every aspect of the record. The riffs are undeniably catchy, such as in the first track “Crusade of the Berserker”. The guitar licks are so consistently enjoyable, covering infectious grooves and pummeling tenacity to a point where one would think the band were already veterans of the craft. In addition to the riffs, the production is exceptional as well. While it isn’t exceptional in sense of clarity, it is more worthy of praise for how it complements the music being played. The production itself is rough around the edges and unrefined, yet also very atmospheric at the same time. This gives the record a distinct sound that seems genuine, being unrefined as a means to complement rather than being phoned in.
To A Golden Age, when compared to other death metal albums, can actually seem to be quite the odd concoction at times. Being sort of an odd chameleon of styles and sounds, To A Golden Age, only further supplementing its strengths. At times, the record can be oddly epic sonically, such as on the track ”Highland of Dreams” which utilize driving riffs and even strange, atmospheric songwriting that wouldn’t look out of place on Bathory’s Hammerheart. This aesthetic makes the record an even more odd case as focuses on immersion of the listener rather than absolutely pummeling them. You could almost see yourself on a Viking longboat as this track plays through out its runtime. With all these aspects, To A Golden Age creates an interesting and unique experience that is as enjoyable as it is admirable. You could tell the band was working with limited resources and they mad the best of what they could do.
While it is sad some albums get lost to the archives of time, it is up to us as dedicated listeners to dig up those records that time forgot. Who knows, you may find something as great as To A Golden Age.