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Asgard - Ragnarokkr

Asgard
Ragnarokkr
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 12 April 2020, 12:14 PM

ASGARD is a Folk/Prog Metal band based out of Trient, Switzerland. Formed in 1986, the band scrapped their early line-up in 2000. It’s now been 20 years since their fifth full-length album. “Ragnarokkr” contains eleven tracks.

“Trans-Preparation” is a short mood-setting track, opening with heavy keys and guitars. When the vocals come in, it takes on an Eastern feeling. “Rituals” hears that Eastern influence continue, as it opens with just drums, vocals and some light instrumentation. The lead guitar provide some of the melody, but the keys are used pretty liberally here, reminding me of MARILLION. It takes a darker turn around the half-way mark. He sings “everything fades out,” as the song ironically does just that. “The Night of the…” opens lightly, with melancholy tones. This time the sound is a bit more on the positive side, though it picks up in pace just before the half-way mark. The keys take the solo here.

“Visions” opens with a little more heaviness and power, still with the keys dominating. The guitars are thick here and chug away in a slow cadence, while the song has a certain darkness to it. This close to eight-minute opus has a lot going on it…several changes along the way as well. “Kali-Yuga” features a solemn opening sequence that opens up a bit later with nice, lush tones of melody. From there, it’s back to the serious tone through the end. “Shaman” opens with flute, clear guitars and soft vocals. The guitar solo is mellow and very well done here. You feel kind of like you are floating on a warm sprig breeze. It picks up with menacing guitars just before the half-way mark. This eleven-minute opus features a lot of changes, similar to “Visions,” and you really here some strong Progressive elements here.

“Battle” opens with a key sequence that carries a nice cheerful but solemn melody. It slowly morphs into a structured riff along with low vocals that bleed with vibrato. It waxes and wanes along the way, sounding more like a journey with all of the changes. “Der Tod” is sung in German I believe, though Switzerland is really a melting pot of a lot of various dialects. It has both hopeful and desolate tones. “Danse Macabre” opens with regal tones, then the guitar comes in and cleans everything out, with its gripping and powerful sound. It has some heavier and more aggressive tones, but those dual harmonic leads are great.

“Anrufung” is another odd song that I believe is sung in German. Vocals and drums are about all you get, until the guitars come charging in for a spell. It’s over before you know it. I really like the sound here however. “Ragnarokkr” closes the album…an epic nine-minute closer. At first it is fairly tame, but when the distorted guitar riff comes in, you have the sense of the gravity of the subject. There is an extended instrumental passage here that provides a binding agent to the song as a whole, which is all over the place.

Overall, this “old school” Progressive album was actually a breath of fresh air to this reviewer. There was a lot going on here…I don’t know when the new line-up was established but someone carried forth the roots of the origins of the band with them.  It’s clear that they are just trying to be themselves and create the music that makes sense for them. This is a rare treat for a band tied to a record label. Great job here guys!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Trans-Preparation
2. Rituals
3. The Night of…
4. Visions
5. Kali-Yuga
6. Shaman
7. Battle
8. Der Tod
9. Danse Macabre
10. Anrufung
11. Ragnarokkr
Lineup:
Albert Ambrosi – Keyboards, Flute, Backing Vocals
Franco Violo – Lead Vocals
Andrea Gottoli – Guitars
Kikko Rebeschini Sambugaro – Drums, Percussions
Paolo Scandolo – Bass
Record Label: Pride & Joy Music
     


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