Despite the fact that Asira has only just come to light in the world of extreme metal, the material on the duo's debut effort, Efference
is, according to guitarist Martin Williams, practically a decade old. He admits in a recent interview that the first riff-appearing in first song proper "Crucible of Light"-was written nine years ago, giving the impression that it has been a real journey for the band members. Despite this, both members have admitted that their musical aspirations have finally come of age, resulting in a sound which both pays respectful homage to the pioneers of post-black metal/blackgaze and is somewhat unique in its own right.
may not be immediate or accessible, but it certainly is ambitious. The problem here is that it generally wastes unnecessary amounts of time in building monumental crescendos, as on the mostly forgettable title track and "Whispers of the Moon". Both of these songs happen to be lengthy, drawn out yet not too interesting as the lasting impression is generally that of disappointment. Notwithstanding the eventual turn of heavier moments towards the end of both aforementioned songs, there's a feeling that when these moments do arise, it comes with an overbearing sense of "too little, too late". However, such flaws are almost quashed with the intricate guitar work which virtually helps the whole album from falling into a tiresome slump. For example, "This Hollow Affliction" features numerous ethereal solos from Williams as the surrounding atmosphere follows suit. Yet even if the cleanly sung vocals aren't quite to your taste, there's still the finely-tuned musicianship which arguably more than makes up for such a disappointing flair. Even in the shorter, heavier bursts of closer "The Mortal Tide", you get a strong impression that the man behind the riffs is thoroughly at peace with his instrument, and although the duo generally seem to lose themselves in the mixture of ethereal, soulful atmosphere and none-too-threatening post-black metal compositions, the aforementioned instrumentation is an aspect that can be fully appreciated when at peak level.
There isn't too much to say about Efference
, because it does indeed wear its influences on its sleeve. Despite the obvious homages to Alcest and even the more atmospheric side of Enslaved, Asira have crafted a decent albeit almost uninspired debut here, which will undoubtedly serve its purpose better to those who are fans of the post-black metal sub-genre. Failing that, there are still moments to enjoy here, but which take too long to truly unfold, and are few and far between.