Ah ! Album number # 2 . With the powerful opener, a number of factors soon become clear. The production has improved a little (it was already pretty good) and some of the songwriting kinks have been ironed, leading to a more stream-lined approach. This can also be viewed as a slight increase in accessibility, though it remains extreme black metal with a unique sound. “Le Faucheur d’âmes” finds more of the violent experimental nature of the band’s blast mania in evidence. The riffing is way more smoothed out and downright catchy in places, yet never embracing nausea inducing melodicisms. But as the album progresses, this new-found ability lends itself to some amazingly dark atmospherics, recalling prime Emperor in a sweep all their own. The lack of some of the disjointed guitar work and the unique bass tone and mix does result in a slight decrease in individuality, but as the album progresses the bass does prove to be still a pyrotechnic show (“Red Sky Rises”), albeit with a better and more cohesive mix. The title track boasts some melodic chants, and some of the wackier bass lines that blend with a great evocative mood. The swirling spacey synths of the intro to “Mausoleum” is a good move, and the way it develops darkly reminds me of “Embryon” from the debut, only more fully formed.
Simulacres is easier to digest in a single sitting as compared to its heavier (and uglier) than hell predecessor, which does endear it more to the listener on repeated spins. The leads are still are all over the place like on “Vargtimmen”, avoiding most wank cliches), and the raspy screams still strip paint at a hundred paces.
All in all, this record confirms Asmodee’s status as vital and vibrant force in the french black metal scene. I like the way the band has progressed from the debut without sacrificing any of the aggression and violence (witness the churning ether), and for one am interested where they take it from here.
To boot, I have had the pleasure of e-interacting with Asmodee master mind Thomas, who is just a totally nice guy and dedicated metalhead. He and the rest of the band have been involved in various metal outfits (past and present) in the country’s scene, which is not surprising given the level of experience required to pull off a monster album like this. These guys can do no wrong, and they actually managed to rewaken my interest in the blacker pastures of metal.
Label: Sacral Productions
Avantgenre: Tech-Black Metal
Official site: http://asmodeelegion.free.fr/
Review online since: 23.09.2008 / 13:35:07