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Askara – Lights of Night

Lights of Night
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 25 May 2022, 11:37 AM

The Swiss Melodic Dark Metal band ASKARA has been an active part of the metal scene since 2013. Following their debut album “Horizon of Hope” from 2016, they are going to release their second album “Lights of Night” in April 2022 via Fastball Music. Similar to their debut album the band presents a powerful, at times dark, but always melodic metal sound that is consistently captivating from production right up to songwriting. The album contains ten tracks.

“The Birth of a Star” opens the album. It’s a short piano laden number with steady snare drumming and an easy listening melody. In chugs a dark and heavy riff that takes over the sound like a bully in a playground. “Nocturne of Cold Mystery” is an odd sound. The vocals are harsh and deep while the music is somewhat jovial, though dark. Clean female vocals then come in, sweet and charming. “Through Fire” is another strange track. Deadly harsh vocals that sound like they come from the beast of the Underworld combine with dank, grey instrumental tones and piano notes in a way that is just, well, unconventional.

“By God” begins with more charming piano and clean female vocals. The harsh vocals paint over grey skies with a thick, black brush that wipes the song nearly completely from the melodies presented. “To Ailsa Rock” is a longer offering that begins with comely female vocals and some light drum rhythms. Harsh male vocals come in but don’t take over the complicated rhythms presented. It brings new meaning to “beauty and the beast.” “Hibernation” also opens with somber female vocals and some ethereal, dreamy elements. Without those nasty harsh vocals, you can actually hear more of the band’s personality, and that is undoubtedly nice. Maybe they should just get rid of them altogether.

“Dark Night of the Soul Pt. I” features a bit of a rougher riff with the opening clean vocals. The harsh vocals come in with a more supportive role this time. This track seems more cohesive than the others. “Seven Years” is a prettier song with some strong emotional qualities. Then again, without the harsh vocals, it would be a stretch to call this music “Metal,” but who cares? Good music is just that.

“Viator” is a shorter song with equal doses of clean and harsh vocals. The music underneath here however is exposed for what it often is…and that is thin. “The King’s Song” closes the album, with more horrid harsh vocals. Beyond their rumblings, there isn’t much in between. The disconnect between the vocals and instruments is obvious, that much I am sure of. But who this type of music might appeal to has me scratching my head. The band isn’t without talent, but this sound is so niche that I am having trouble imagining the intended audience. There are moments of unabashed beauty, and I like harsh vocals, but not so much these ones. Chalk this band up as unique, but not much else I’m afraid.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 3
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

1. The Birth of a Star
2. Nocturne of Cold Mystery
3. Through Fire
4. By God
5. To Ailsa Rock
6. Hibernation
7. Dark Night of the Soul Pt. I
8. Seven Years
9. Viator
10. The King's Song
Elia – Bass, Vocals
Raphael – Drums
Benj – Guitars
Myriam – Piano, Vocals
Emanuel Strebel – Drums
Record Label: Fastball Music


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