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Asira - Efference Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 09 April 2017, 2:23 PM

ASIRA is “an eclectic metal band from Reading, brimming with a healthy disregard for genre convention.” “Efference” is the band’s debut album, released April 7, 2017, and contains eight tracks. The Post-Metal genre has really diversified as of late, and although that is not sufficient enough of a label for this UK band, it starts the conversation. This is an album full of pleasant surprises. Let’s get to the songs. “Sanguine” is a short into track, brooding with Post-Rock melody, and a soaring sound. Piano/keys provide the tender elements, segueing into “Crucible Of Light.” This track comes straight for your throat. Blast beat drumming and heavily strummed guitars create that “wall of sound” that often accompanies a Black Metal sound. Adding in the vocal shrieks further supports this. But clean vocal passages and creative guitar work bring in a wonderful diversity to the track, as does the atmospheric ending, with angelic vocal notes.

“Efference” is the eight-minute title track. The music slowly envelopes you and illuminates your personal space. The main riff dabbles into the Progressive Rock and Post-Rock genres, using major and minor chords that fill your soul with joy. The ability to both create but suspend hope at the same time is the key to the sound, and that guitar solo is composed extremely well. This is melancholy bliss at its finest; truly a stunning work. “This Hollow Affliction” is a ten-minute exercise in everything that is great about music. First, it creates a baseline sound of subdued beauty, before unleashing dark chaos on you like hot barbs of twisted steel searing your flesh. Shifting layers of melody abound, never fully committing to any one way of delivery. It’s complex but completely accessible at the same time.

“Of Dawn” is another short, mood-building piece that breaks up some of the heavier side of the album with guitar notes that register bright and high. Ethereal and pretty, I find myself longing for more as it ends. “Whispers Of The Moon” is a really aptly titled track. The moon has long been both an object of mystery and stalwart beauty in our sky, but is in fact a dead entity. Within that context comes a song of equal mysteriousness, hidden in shadowy layers and with personal meaning that can change with each further time that you listen to it. With no harsh vocals in this track, it swoons with a somber delivery and reminds me of the band RIVERSIDE at times. It really takes you through a wormhole that leads to another dimension, where a rainbow of swirling colors can be felt and not just seen.

“The Moral Tide” re-established a heaviness to close the album. Frail vocal harmonies in the opening lead into a fervor of Black Metal that is paired with a forward thinking Progressive sound. It strikes you from all angles steals hope from your soul. When you have to work for something, it makes you much more appreciative of your achievement. This is how “Efference” from ASIRA made me feel. Many of the melodies were there for you to grab but much of the album contained deep layers of content that you discovered along the way. The discovery process was what made the experience so sublime. I was enchanted from the moments of atmospheric beauty, hardened with the heaviness of some of the Black Metal elements, dazzled with the undertone of Progressive elements than ran throughout the compositions, and overwhelmed with the bevy of emotions that I felt. Forget any chance of genre labeling with this album as a whole, and just sit back, turn off your life, and allow “Efference” to take you on a journey of your senses that you have not felt before.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Sanguine
2. Crucible Of Light
3. Efference
4. This Hollow Affliction
5. Of Dawn
6. Phosphorus
7. Whispers Of The Moon
8. The Mortal Tide
Jack Reynolds - Vocals
Martin Williams - Guitars/Vocals
Ethan Bishop - Guitars
Sam Greenland - Drums
Chris Kendell – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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