Asagraum were formed by vocalist/guitarist Obscura in 2015 to create pure Satanic Black Metal. These days, fully from the Netherlands, they return with their third studio offering Veil Of Death, Ruptured, and if you enjoyed their previous two releases, Potestas Magicum Diaboli and Dawn of Infinite Fire, then you will be equally impressed as Asagraum have not deviated from their original aim at all. They have just honed their art to greater perfection.
Asagraum – Veil Of Death, Ruptured (Edged Circle Productions)
Release Date: 20 October 2023
Words: Jools Green
Veil Of Death, Ruptured, is an eight-track offering spanning an intense and engaging thirty-six minutes. If you are unfamiliar with their sound, it has a decidedly old-school vibe, reflecting the feel of ’90s Black Metal with a subtle dark psychedelic undercurrent. Lyrics are inspired by aspects of Occultism and Satanism.
Opening with the superb Ignem Purificat Lilitu, it’s that dark psychedelic undercurrent which makes this otherwise raw beast of a track all the more engaging. Completed by Obscura’s impressive searing, raw vocal delivery, the ebb and build in both pace and intensity, along with the haunting, clean choral style vocals towards the end, add a further dimension to the sound.
Fearless Dominance, initially eerily reflective, builds with rapid intensity and delivers the unrelenting and forceful raw drive the title suggests. The second half delivers a swathe of haunting leadwork dropping away to a dark, reflectively eerie pace, allowing the acidic vocals to cut through with ruthless intent.
After the brief instrumental interlude, Opus Ad Errantem, comes De Verloren Tijd. I love the contrasts it contains. Across the duration, you predominantly get a haunting, meandering melody, firstly with eerie cleans, swiftly followed by an intense wave of riffing and acidic vocals, dropping back to that dark and reflective melody again. But the acidic vocals continue, interspersed with dramatically dark, poignant passages of music that are devoid of vocals. A deceptively powerful, thought-provoking piece.
At the other end of the spectrum, Impure Fire arrives as a wall of intense, driving ferocity. Completed with acidic vocals, it’s brutally impactful, but it also has a superb old-school undercurrent coursing beneath, adding a melodic feel as well as depth and texture. It drops back just after midway to a reflective melody that is superbly haunting. It does build again but not to the previous level of intensity and closes on a brief passage of haunting coral cleans.
Veil Of Death, Ruptured, builds out of the smouldering remains of its predecessor, gradually gathering pace and breaking out into a frenzy of tremolo picking, which gives way to the acidic vocal delivery. With these two aspects forming the core of the track, it has a steady drive but still maintains your interest with its subtle variation.
Penultimate piece, Opus Ad Aeternum, a reflective, clean guitar-led piece, is the calm before the final storm. As it reaches its conclusion, you can sense the next piece, De Waanzin Roept Mijn Naam, building in its gentle wake. Arriving as an intense wall of riffing for one final blackened assault of your senses, this is a hugely engaging piece that ebbs and builds in dramatic waves, one minute reflective, the next a wall of raging riffs. A superbly dramatic close to a superb album.
Veil Of Death, Ruptured is a Black Metal masterpiece and hugely worth your attention if you like an old-school Black Metal sound. I think it’s superb, it certainly ticks every box for me.
It will be available as a CD, limited edition Digipak, limited edition 12″ vinyl in 3 colours, cassette or digital download from Bandcamp.