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Asphodelus – Stygian Dreams

Stygian Dreams
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 23 February 2019, 6:00 AM

Finland’s ASPHODELUS is a Doom/Death Metal band whose latest release, “Stygian Dreams,” is their first full length after releasing an EP and a couple of demos.  A lot bands in this style play darker than black but ASPHODELUS insert melody, from both keys and guitars, into their otherwise morose compositions. “Les Oceanides,” is the opening track; although it is an intro, the track is very well composed and more in style to a legitimate composition than just a way to introduce the album; it is quite the movement, very majestic and emotional.

Filppu plays bass, guitars (along with Vayrynen), and handles the vocals as well. Riff wise, they play Doom in a variety of ways.  Gothic and melodic textures dominate the bulk of the riffs; the keys really accent these more melodic moments and the two work in tandem so well the songs would be totally changed if either instrument went a different direction.  I definitely give credit to the band for not letting any of the instrument fight over the dominance of the other one.  The band definitely plays together, each member doing their part for the overall sound.

Lamentation of the Lost Soul,” begins with a surprising amount of groove, peppered with clean keys, before the growls come in, bringing the band’s Death Metal half into play. Kettunen’s drums are in full form here, laying down a thick sheet of thunderous double bass, once again letting the band’s Death Metal roots meld in with the Doom to create a hopeless atmosphere that is also heavy enough to head bang to “The Hour Glass Infernal,” has heavy early MY DYING BRIDE and PARADISE LOST vibes with the guitar and bass but lays on thick Gothic textures for the keys.  Strong guitar melodies bring the song to a moving mid-section highlighted by clean keys and acoustics.

Some of the more guitar oriented songs struck me as standouts such as “Sleep of Eternity,” which begins with Gothic melody, switches to more Death Metal riffs with increased tempo and cascading drums that lead the band into territories with more intricate riff and another beautiful clean passage. The final track, “Where Freezing Spirits Fall,” the longest track on the album and represents the widest spectrum the band plays on.  The first minute and a half is a Gothic Doom wet dream of ominous riffs and keyboard tones.  The band quickly settles into more Death Metal territory, going all out on a more focused guitar attack and brutal vocals.  The later part of the song is very melodic and melancholic not unlike bands like early KATATONIA and DAYLIGHT DIES.

ASPHODELUS have crafted a really solid first full-length album and I’m excited for future releases from them.  Fans of any Doom will enjoy this, especially those who like a bit of melody and dark Gothic tones added in to the mix.

Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Les Oceanides (Intro)
2. Lamentation of the Lost Soul
3. Scent of Venus
4. The Hourglass Infernal
5. Delusions ad Astra
6. Stygian Dreaming
7. Sleep of Eternity
8. Where Freezing Spirits Fall
J. Filppu – Bass, Guitars, Vocals
V. Kettunen – Drums
J. Vayrynen – Guitars
Tomi Pekkola – Keys (Session)
Record Label: Terror From Hell Records


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