If you are looking for a real musical adventure then listening to The Fall Of The Idols, the new album from Finnish metallers Asa-Noir is high on the list of recommendations. Everything about the release is adventure, from its aural exploration and lyrical narrative through to its appetite inflaming flavouring and exhausting imagination. Band and album make a riveting and forcibly compelling endeavour with more distinct metal variants than flood warnings found in the UK right now. It is a glorious and seamless blending of textures and sounds into that extensive range of styles, a fusion which emerges as something mouth-wateringly invigorating, boldly exciting, and strikingly unique.
The band found its seeds in the Finnish town of Hämeenlinna where guitarist Ville Oravala and drummer Ilkka Koivisto united their skills in 2004.Taking inspiration from the Norwegian black metal scene into their fascination with Norse mythology and Gothic horror fiction, Asa-Noir evolved and emerged with initially a heathen black metal encounter but as time passed and the band expanded, and from all accounts persistently changed, so did its sound. Now a sextet of vocalist Henri Asikainen, guitarist Kalle Hotti, bassist Antti Koivisto, and Toni Haapasaari on keys alongside Ville Oravala and Ilkka Koivisto, the magnetic metallers unleash The Fall Of The Idols, a record which given the chance will bring the band new and greater recognition you can only surmise as it seduces and voraciously toys with the passions.
Released via WormHoleDeath Records, The Fall Of The Idols continues the band’s lyrical premise and artistic investigation based in the native European religion Asatru whilst infusing elements and visually stimulating aspects of the works of writers such as Poe and Lovecraft. Being our first meeting with Asa-Noir, how the new album differs from the band’s earlier sounds is impossible to reflect on but with a presence which can only be described as passion raising metal in all its melodically buoyant and aggressively hungry glory, The Fall Of The Idols is an enthralling and masterful provocateur which to be truthful we cannot get enough of.
The opening instrumental Lokasenna gets it all off to a stunning start. It is an epically toned flight through an evocative and stirring desert like sultry landscape, sands of time and dusts of generations flying across thoughts whilst holding ominous and dangerous secrets. It is a rapturous start, a visually incendiary soundscape setting the listener up perfectly for the blazing tempest of the following title track. Immediately consuming the ears in a sea of symphonic and power metal rapaciousness with snarling riffs and reserved but intensive rhythms, the track takes little time in igniting thoughts and emotions. The vocals of Asikainen provide a grizzled texture to the melodically elegant keys and folkish warmth which emerges, his tones as gritty as sand but soaked in enticement rather than threat. It is a transfixing piece of malevolent but fully welcoming persuasion leaving an urgent hunger to delve even deeper into the album.
The Cosmogonic Process follows with a more electronic and industrially honed opening, though guitars and bass are soon entwining the radiance with strict preying riffs. Not as instantly accessible as its predecessor and less intensively aggressive, the song unites dark shadows and melodic beauty in a tantalising flame of enterprise latched to dramatic textures created with open and incisive craft. There is so much going on in the song, with a similarly potent sparking of the imagination in tow, that you almost need to take a song one at a time to bask in and reflect on everything you have heard for full appreciation, but then again with a fully raging appetite from almost the first minute too impatient to wait you just have to move on and admit that to explore individual moments more that is what repeat listens are for.
From the previous track which at times brings Canadian underground metallers The New Jacobin Club to mind, Asa-Noir open up Solitude In Silence with an orchestral piece which is again wholly cinematic though igniting a comparison to films like Love Story with its romantic air. It is just an early caress though as the track breaks into a muscular stride with an anthemically fuelled flame to its evolving melodic expedition. It once more creates a web of temptation which is impossible to resist or remove emotions and energy from, the embracing swagger and triumphant gait of the song aggressively spellbinding.
The likes of the irrepressibly tantalising Hawthorns and the rich foreboding imaginative storm of Rise Of The Lokean continue the ever intensifying entangling of thoughts and emotions whilst Spirit Of The Unrest works its way almost insidiously into the passions with a symphonic, gothic, and slightly thrash blessed united suasion that feel like a gift with barbarous intent, a sonic Trojan Horse of sorts. Amidst these though lies the pinnacle of the album, the magnificent Naglfahr Lounge Music. It is festivity and anthem sculpted into an irresistible riling of the heart, and almost alone a reason why Asa-Noir should be sought out.
Completed by the rigorously commanding and tempting Torn By Thorns and the closing portentous instrumental Drowning, it is impossible to validly offer anything up to temper the virtual lust we have for The Fall Of The Idols. People’s tastes and wants obviously vary but it is hard to imagine that fans of melodic metal however it comes, and the album probably employs it anyway, not finding a real feeling for and pleasure from this immense offering from Asa-Noir, a band turning metallic ‘theatrical drama’ into something to greedily devour.
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