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Released in 1992 and just a year on the back of the USSR’s collapse, the only album of the Russian band Aspid comes after the the former Soviet nation brought the world metal bands that were and continue to be well known and respected within the former Eastern Bloc, but within Western Europe and the Anglophone world at large, continue to be relatively unknown except to a few.
Flawless musicians, and obviously the subjects of a classical training, Aspid exhibit a virtuosity that runs parallel with their fellow countrymen, especially the neoclassicist heavy metal of Magnit and Credo. Added is the swagger and aggression that defined Korrozia Metalla, and having a highly technical bent, Swiss legends Coroner also bear an obvious influence.
Songs are consonant and dynamic like the first Obliveon album, and some of the rhythm guitar technique is quite similar to Kreator circa ‘Extreme Aggression’. A parallel can certainly be drawn with the highly adept American bands Sadus, Atheist and Hellwitch in the use of oddball technique and fluidity of execution.
The production here is thin, yet it is crisp, sharp and linear. Aside from the dominant instrumental centrepiece of guitar, the bass is high within the mix, drum patterns are heavily pronounced and syncopated, bringing a nice juxtaposition to the rhythm section that keeps the songs engaging and engrossing as a musical experience. Solos are intricate, vibrant and heavily melodious. Vocals are distinctly Russian sounding, heavily accentuated and in their delivery give a further sense of polyrhythm to the arrangements.
Whilst most certainly a thrash band on account of their aesthetic, Aspid use technique like a death metal act would. The emphasis on breaks between riffs could easily fit with Suffocation, and the vibrant use of palm muting and melodic fretwork is as spiralling and enriched as what could be heard on classic Atrocity. Whilst death metal had since the late 80′s been a foundational genre within the West, it seems obvious that outside of that spectrum there were those familiar with it and able to apply it in terms of form and substance, as is the case with these Russians.
‘Extravasation’ is a great rarity. It is highly adept, never overindulgent, very well composed and manages to cultivate a distinctly national character to itself, where the influences are traceable but in no way imitative.