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Åskog - Varþnaþer

Åskog
Varþnaþer
by Chris Hawkins at 10 August 2021, 2:37 PM

ÅSKOG is a Swedish duo who deal in classic Black Metal.  At the moment, the band is unsigned, but after listening to their fierce debut, it is clear that will not be the case for long.  “Varþnaþer” is eight tracks of vehement malevolence rife with all of the customary accoutrements of the genre.  It is, however, an album filled with vision, one in which the peaks and valleys both facilitate and ease its journey.

Svält” opens the album and is a vicious display of traditional Black Metal.  Were one to listen merely to this track, one would likely predict the remainder of the album to be a maelstrom of vindictive ferocity, and while that is certainly the case at points, there is much more here to consume.  “Vinter” cultivates a more atmospheric perspective.  Beginning with a decidedly slower tempo, a delicately laid, thick vibe is laid over the song to even include keyboards sprinkled in the mix.  The climax at the end is well worth the wait with its explosive finale.

For this to be an independent act, the productions is of considerable quality.  A perfect example of this is the third track, “Tid,” which has an absolutely gargantuan sound.  The guitar tone is cutting, biting, though not overpowering and the blending of clean vocals brings strains of the mighty ENSLAVED to mind.  Essentially, this is an album that is meant to be experienced, a striking sensory voyage.  For ÅSKOG, normal convention has been shrugged in favor of a broader, more sweeping approach.

The intensity is then increased exponentially in the form of the fourth track, “Måne”.  For a main riff that could otherwise be cluttered as it is entwined with the blast beat as such, the clarity is remarkable.  As the song develops, melodies tiptoe in to further expand the palette.  It really is an absorbing track as it skates the border between anthem and dirge.

The carefully laid plans of ÅSKOG truly paid off.  Not only have they released an album that sounds every bit as good as their signed contemporaries, but also one that is filled with original, compelling ideas.  In a time when the scene is so very oversaturated, a band like ÅSKOG is nothing less than a breath of fresh air.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Svält
2. Vinter
3. Tid
4. Måne
5. Varg
6. Korp
7. Eld
8. Aska
Lineup:
Adam Chapman – Guitars
Lars Hansson – Vocals, Bass
Record Label: Independent
     


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