Review Summary: Unhampered ingenuity; a true veil of serenity.
Fresh, talented bands are always finding their way out from the woodwork and into the public eye, but I don’t think any band has had as much of an impact on me upon discovery as Aspherium did. I reviewed their sophomore release The Fall of Therenia
last year and praised it for its acumen in all things progressive and beyond. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the band had an equally impressive debut, The Veil of Serenity
, released only three years earlier that slipped under everyone’s radar. This further exemplifies the notion that some of the greatest music crawls from beneath the woodwork, unseen and unheard, only to be discovered perchance – perhaps by delving through the darkest corners of the internet searching for new music, or even by clicking a random review on a music website. No matter how it makes its way to your attention, this treasure turns out to be something you will never forget, and the journey to finding this desirable thing makes it all the more precious when its beauty is finally uncovered. Aspherium is this treasure, and The Veil of Serenity
is its beauty.
This bias can account for my bloated rating, but the truth is The Veil of Serenity
is a genuinely awe-inspiring work, not only for its superb musicianship but for its treatment and humility toward metal itself. Aspherium don’t pigeonhole themselves to one genre, nor do they forcefully mesh multiple styles into one in a vain attempt to stand out from the crowd. The Veil of Serenity
sounds like an authentic product from a group of talented minds coming together and creating art. It acts as an odyssey for these Norwegians – what they have heard, what brought them together, what influenced them throughout their lives, and what compelled them to project their creativity into a musical sentiment. That’s what The Veil of Serenity
is – a culmination of experiences put into notes and chords; a unique voice from musicians that previously went unheard, until now.
The style Aspherium aim for can be dissected methodically, sure. It’s largely melodic death metal with hints of black metal, doom, folk, prog, and metalcore. The eponymous track begins with crisp tremolo riffs, blast beats and the like – melodic but morose; crunchy but sharp, creating a bleak atmosphere that continuously evolves until the climactic breakdown and subsequent denouement. But simply reading these descriptors don’t even begin to paint the full picture. It’s the seamless coalescence of these elements, to the point that they transcend genre tropes themselves, that makes The Veil of Serenity
If a single were to be released, ‘As We Slither’ would be a prime contender. Its infectious main riff confined to a relatively straightforward structure makes it an easy standalone listen and serves as an apt appetizer for what the full album promises. Straightforward is not to be mistaken for simplistic, though, as the song never stays in the same place for long, and its brevity eliminates the possibility of distraction or boredom. However, the bulk of the album consists of 6+ minute behemoths with more twists and turns than Christina Hendricks, and much like Hendricks’ figure, they all come together so smoothly as to not question their direction; rather, to appreciate their beauty and boldness at face value.
So, is The Veil of Serenity
album? Perhaps not, but I’d be hard-pressed to find an album that I can truly call perfect from beginning to end, let alone the wild subjectivity the word holds for every individual. What The Veil of Serenity
is definitively, though, is a superlative example of what making music is all about. There’s no pandering to any demographic, any fanbase, or even a record label. Reveling in its obscurity, this is music Aspherium made for themselves and for those willing to traverse this heavy terrain with them. This is what unhampered ingenuity sounds like, serenity unveiled.