Label: Hidden Marly Production
Release Date: 17 July 2018
Format reviewed: High quality digital promo
Asgrauw is back in 2018 with his third album. One of the most emblematic power trios of the last times, in the Netherlands, if we speak of pure old school black metal.
From the cover art you can notice that the mission of the band is to walk a path of pure homage and adoration towards the old gods of the Scandinavian second wave. I can not help but notice an intentional tribute to the covers of the first albums of Ulver, with those colors painted in oil, although with a marked regionalistic characteristic. In fact, “Gronspech” exudes Dutch traditionalism from all its pores, which is welcome, since it is not just another act of emulation of topics already used tirelessly by countless bands stuck in the famous idiosyncrasies of the Scandinavian adolescent renaissance of the 90s ‘s.
Stylistically, as for the sound proposal, we can appreciate a total approach to the second wave of black metal. Simple, direct and concise, being able to pass from the typical attack of implacable blast beats to slower rhythms, giving rise to some atmospheres somewhat epic and melancholic. The guitars are very in front in the mix, being the absolute protagonists of the banquet, with a tone of absolute frostiness, like an immense wall of ice making us some shade, in an elegiac sunset.
The depth in the tone is appreciated, making them sound robust, and the marked presence of the bass also adds a quota of distinction, sounding very audible and adding some original harmonies, instead of just following the guitars, as often happens in the genre. There are also some keyboards to accentuate certain moments, but you can not talk about symphonic influences. I could say that it’s like listening to a mixture of Gehenna or Enslaved with something of Darkthorne, maybe in its more punk side and with less riffs. The strength of Asgrauw resides in creating cold hymns, supported by the succession of chords, with a very good rhythmic section. In general, “Gronspech” is a solid work, with a very enjoyable first half and a second section where the repetitive factor begins to make a dent.
Anyway, I do not think the band is interested in continuing to progress or changing their style too much. This is pure devotion to the old idols of the second wave and done with enough conviction and good intentions. A humble work that does not try to reinvent the gunpowder, but that offers a handful of good Black Metal songs to enjoy a Friday night with friends, having some good beers. Take it or leave it. I liked it. 7.5/10 Sergio
7.5/10 Victory is possible
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