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Asgrauw - Schijindestalten

by Danny Sanderson at 01 June 2014, 1:05 AM

The way that many people talk about Black Metal, it would seem to many observers that the genre is a purely Norwegian phenomenon, and that any band that doesn't come from Norway you are not "True" Black Metal (whatever that means). However, many Black Metal bands have thrived outside of Scandinavia, from the likes of HECATE ENTHRONED and MEADS OF ASPHODEL in the UK, to the likes of CEREMONIAL CASTINGS and WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM in the United States. In short, there are many places outside of Norway in which Black Metal has thrived and evolved. One of these places which is often overlooked it the Netherlands, a nation that has given us COUNTESS and the mighty CARACH ANGREN. Alongside Finland, Sweden and the States, the Netherlands is slowly becoming one of the hotbeds of the Black Metal genre. And it is from the darkest corners of this country that ASGRAUW hail.

Their debut album, "Schijindestalten", is, despite the bands youth, an extremely raw and grim affair, which harkens back to the glory days of the likes of BURZUM, DARKTHRONE and TSJUDER. If you are a fan of raw Black Metal in the style of the aforementioned bands, then you will certainly love this album. Many of the songs, such as "Ira" and "Uit Grauwe As Ontstaan" definitely have some degree of crust punk influences in them, especially with the drumming. "Schimmerwereld" has an air of TAAKE about it, and is definitely one of the high points of the record. The final song on the album, "Wanneer De Schemering Valt" is incredibly fast and ferocious, and is perhaps the "rawest" track on the album. Unlike many other "raw" Black Metal acts, ASGRAUW's album has had a decent production, which makes the songs all sound sharper and fiercer than if it had been given the sort of low-fi production that Black Metal is famed for. But at the same time the production isn't so flawless that it completely strips away its rawness and crusty edge. One of the other key strengths of this album is that, unlike a number of other small Black Metal bands, all the songs sounds different and are easily distinguishable from one another, rather than being almost exactly the same as a few Black Metal bands are prone to do. This means that it has the ability to draw in many Old School Black Metallers while at the same time drawing in those Black Metal fans who are perhaps more used to a polished sound in their music. In this way, "Schijindestalten" has the potential to be a "gateway" album to the darker aspects of the Black Metal genre.

This is a great debut album, and I sincerely hope that these guys build on the many strengths of this record to make the next one surpass this record. Unfortunately for the majority of the world, at the moment the band doesn't seem to have broken out beyond the borders of their native country, so the chance of seeing them live around your neck of the woods is quite slim. With any luck this album will take ASGRAUW to far off shores and bring them the critical acclaim and attention that this album warrants. 

4 Star Rating

1. De Ondergang
2. Ira
3. Mann Boven De Heuvels
4. Schimmerwereld
5. Luxuria
6. Uit Grauwe As Ontstaan
7. Avaritia
8. Wanneer De Schemering Valt
Vaal - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Kaos - Bass, Vocals
Batr - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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