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Asofy - Amusia Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 15 June 2020, 4:06 AM

Wow.  Just…wow. I’ve been with the mighty Metal Temple since 2016 and one man band ASOFY’s fourth full length album “Amusia,” is quite possibly the weirdest and most unique album I have ever reviewed.  I honestly found the writing of this review to also be one of the most challenging, not because it isn’t a good album (it is a great album, actually) but because of the very nature of what transpires across the eight tracks.  Although it obviously contains music, that music is, oddly enough, not really the focus of the album.

The album is described as Black/Doom and while I suppose that fits it better than anything else that it could be called, it also doesn’t really described the experience contained when the album’s eight track, hour long runtime. Although slow, moody, and melancholy drenched like a good doom metal band should be, the similarities stop there.  There isn’t really any actual riffs or fuzzed out bass to be found here.  I think atmospheric is really the wrong term; abstract works better for this album.   Emotion, mood, and a constant battle between form and chaos are at the forefront, driving the music to its cause.

Typical verse-chorus-verse linear song writing is no where to be found.  The songs truly ignore any conventional formations and walk away from even being off the beaten path to begin with.  In that sense, it is definitely progressive as well but instrumentation wise it is not, at least to a point.  Guitars, bass, and drums aren’t complicated at all and often times come off as taking a simple approach, in terms of presentation and the use of notes and chords.  However, that is where the simple ceases to be a plain of existence to this album.  There may not be any flashy moments  but make no mistake: this album is as complicated as any I’ve heard.  Everything is built upon layers and layers, a living house of music built from the foundation up where every note plays an important part in the overall construction, albeit  that construction is as stark, alien, and even dangerous.

To listen to this album is to truly be transported to another dimension of time and space.  While walking these musical halls, my ears were subjected to songs that I just didn’t understand at first.  This is Doom but ran through a distorted tunnel of sound and reflected from shards of broken glass, whereas each piece of the sharp shards is another hint of what exactly is happening. Despite that, despite all my confusion and trepidation, I stuck with it.  Why?  Because I had to listen to it multiple times to get enjoyment out of it?  Forcing myself to like it for the sake of giving a good review?  Nothing could be further the truth.  Though I had yet to understand it, I knew that I liked it.  Why?  Simple: this  unique album is always interesting—boredom doesn’t exist in this strange realm.   Even when my brain didn’t fully understand yet, the music, and the feelings that came with it, just pulled me through the most odd of rabbit holes.

Over time, I’d say at least half a dozen straight thru listens, every element just clicked into place for me.  I enjoyed it before but now I craved it and found myself unable to stop listening to it.  It kind of puts you into a trance, a sort of out of body experience where you are on the outside looking in. For those who find what I’ve wrote interesting but perhaps not ready to dip your toes into, I encourage you to listen to it, if for no other reason than the bass guitar.  The guitars are beautifully and expertly layered, the drums are well crafted and help grab your attention but it is the bass that keeps everything together.  Most of the time, it is more melodic than sparsely ambient like the other instruments and serves a great anchor to get the songs set up.  I will try to speak a little about some of the individual songs but really unless the album can be heard, I’m afraid my words will mean very little in terms of trying to convey this album.

The album begins with “Agnosia,” a trippy song that seems to have some jazz elements to it, especially with the drums and guitar.  I’ve heard very little jazz mind you but what I have heard goes well enough with this track for me to say so.  The vocals are nothing more than a hoarse whisper, gliding through like ghosts on the wind.  It is unnerving, especially the clean riffs that often accompany the apparitions.

Amusia,” is the title track and, at times, the most approachable despite it being over twelve minutes long.  If I have one complaint about the album is that it could use a bit more focus in places but I think that is why I would suggest someone listen to this song first because the beginning minutes are (slightly) more streamlined than anything else on the album.  Of course, the middle portion of the song throws all that out the window with some very abstract ideas.  However, the last couple minutes of the song are more like the first: something more akin to an actual song and a more clear direction.

Towards the album’s end, we get another epic song at near thirteen minutes in length called “Allucinazione.”  Unlike the title track, there is absolutely nothing conventional about this track.  In many segments, “Allucinazione,” seems to break away from what most would consider actual music and go straight into the territory of what some would call “random noises strung together.”  But there is method to this madness, if one is patient and can allow their minds to step outside the box.

Most doom heads, and fans of metal or music in general, are going to find this album to be more of a challenge than anything they have ever heard.  Simply put, most cannot, and will not, make it through just one of these songs.  I hate saying that because it could make this album seem terrible but I hope at this point in the review, it is obvious that isn’t the case at all.  But I’m also not going to bullshit anyone either and proclaim this is an an album that is easy on the ears and, once absorbed, can be fully enjoyed.  I have spent years upon years discovering new bands within metal/rock, and being a writer/reviewer has only opened up my world more.  But not everyone is like me or has the mind of a critic—but if you do, if you really do like odd music that not only steps outside the box but never had one in the first place, “Amusia” is one hell of a dark ride.

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

4 Star Rating

1.  Agnosia
2. Palinodia
3. Amusia
4. Reiduo
5. Alterazione
6. Distonia
7. Allucinazione
8. Ricordo
Tryfar – All Instruments, Vocals
Record Label: Avantgarde Music


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