Label: Iron, Blood and Death Corporation
Release date: 18 December 2023
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording
There’s no information about ÅssE, the only thing I got from my research was that it’s a Black Metal duo from Italy, and the two people in the band are H.K. playing guitars and composing, and O.P. doing vocals and writing lyrics. And also this, from their label’s Bandcamp:
The band is based in Europe but the origin isn’t clear yet. All that is known is H.K. and O.P. have connections with members of the Norwegian black metal scene from Oslo, Bergen and Bodø, whom had music collaborations with.
Wow, so mysterious… well, some bands choose this as a way to “keep the trve Black Metal spirit” I guess, because, c’mon, we live in the over-information era. But hey, I’m here to talk about their music. If some musicians want to remain in the shadows, it’s ok for me.
And what I hear in the music played by ÅssE is traditional Black Metal with the characteristic ice cold riffs, oh yes, guitars play some of the most freezing and mesmerizing riffs I’ve listened to lately. My blood literally runs slower through my veins when I allow myself to get lost in this 6 track album. Less than half an hour but this is enough to conjure the 90s Norwegian spirit.
Starting with “Slava”, where you can instantly get what Åsse is about (relentless drums, icy riffs and a very low tuned bass, and vocals going so damn savage…) while the repetitive riffs create familiar loops in your brain. The pause in the middle of this song gets me waiting for something intense, and the second part it is indeed, specially because of the thunderous drums. Some piano keys enhance the dark and cold ambiance, lyrics are talking about war… Wow, great track to start with.
The following “Inner Demons Unleashed” runs at high speed from start to finish, with only a short break in the middle. Vocals can be of the most devilish kind at times, horrid, putrid… they sound deeply cavernous and like vomiting the words out from a rotten throat, I definitely love this! One of the most outstanding things is, for me, the high level of energy at drums, with all those blast beats, kicks, rolls, crashing cymbals… damn, the drummer really has me hypnotized with this track! And, if you fix your attention in the string instruments, you can instantly notice how great they match together, both the riffs and the bass with its very noticeable sound.
The third one, “(Voivode of) Teara Rumaneasca” starts with a slower tempo and guitars building ice cold riffs with the majestic bass providing a great depth to the overall sound. You can feel an increasing tension and an oppressive atmosphere as the song goes on. When all of a sudden it explodes, it seems to go totally crazy for a few seconds, but then it regains his composure a little but keeps on running fast until the end. This goes along with the report of some gruesome ways of torture. The voice speaking seems like doing it from far away, a distant narrator who’s a bit into the story, as it seems…
“Nuclear Invasion” shows again those feverish and explosive rhythms, with dramatic and dreadful pauses full of terror awaiting you round the corner. Vocals are nailing it, alternating deep growls with spoken passages. And guitars play some of the most infectious riffs in this album.
The fifth song is “The Salem Ministry” and it starts with an outburst that may seem familiar… yeah it’s killer! It destroys everything around. The slower section is like the remaining embers after the destructive fire has scorched everything in its path, they continue active and when it’s reaching the end, the brutality returns and it’s like the final kick in your head before you die.
But wait, there’s still another track to go, “Ode to War” is the final song and it’s the more obscure, ominous and oppressive of all six, starting with an extra slow passage in the realms of Doom Metal, resulting in a mesmerizing and (literally) asphyxiating experience. Riffs are so icy that can cut the air, the bass is the pulse that marks when you are allowed to breathe, and some choking sounds and also brutal vocals depict a dreadful final scene that leaves you breathless.
This is an album that has catched me, very good Black Metal with that traditional sound… For me it’s 9/10 Sílvia
9/10 Epic Storm
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